which agreed to sell itself in a $2.9 billion deal last month, has received a topping bid valuing the food-service-equipment maker at around $3.3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
Italy’s Ali Group made an all-cash offer to buy the company for $23 a share earlier this week, the people said. Welbilt agreed in April to sell itself to rival
for 0.1240 Middleby share for each Welbilt share, an offer that at the time was worth around $20.69 a share.
Florida-based Welbilt’s shares closed Thursday at $19.92.
Ali Group, which also makes food-service equipment and operates globally, was founded in 1963 and is privately held.
One of Welbilt’s largest shareholders is
who holds a roughly 7.5% stake. Mr. Icahn has a representative on its board and had agreed to vote in favor of the Middleby deal.
Topping bids have been a common occurrence so far this year, as companies flush with cash and strong stock prices go shopping for targets sometimes beaten down amid market volatility.
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