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Feb 15, 2021

Cerberus fails in bid for Dorel as investors balk

Benj Gallander discusses Dorel Industries

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Cerberus Capital Management LP and the founding family of Dorel Industries Inc. terminated their bid to take private the Canadian toy and bicycle maker after it failed to win enough support from shareholders.

Dorel said Monday the buyers pulled the plug on the $453 million (US$357 million) deal after examining the proxy votes that came in by Friday’s deadline. A shareholder meeting had been scheduled for Tuesday morning on the $16-a-share bid.

Dorel fell 5.9 per cent to $14.85 as of 9:33 a.m. Tuesday morning in Toronto. Canadian markets were closed on Monday for a holiday.

The move ends a battle that began in November, when New York-based Cerberus, the Schwartz family and co-founder Jeff Segel offered to take over Westmount, Quebec-based Dorel for $14.50 a share. The proposal spurred immediate opposition from asset manager Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc., the company’s second-largest outside shareholder, which blasted the bid as opportunistic and said it significantly undervalued Dorel.

Cerberus and the family raised the offer to $16 a share earlier this month, but the sweetened bid failed to win over Letko or Brandes Investment Partners LP, another top Dorel investor. Letko owns about 12.2 per cent of Dorel and Brandes holds about 7 per cent on behalf of its clients, according to the money managers’ statements.

Dorel’s shares plunged at the onset of the pandemic but then surged more than 11-fold from a March low, driven in part by increased demand for bicycles. Dorel makes Cannondale, Schwinn and Mongoose bicycles, as well as Maxi-Cosi and Cosco baby products and Dorel and Signature Sleep home products.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity. We sincerely appreciate the considerable time and effort Cerberus has devoted to this project,” Dorel Chief Executive Officer Martin Schwartz said in a statement.