First Pacific pulls out from takeover of Malaysia’s Cocoaland

Cocoaland produces various confectionery ubiquitous in Malaysia. Image from the company website.

Hong Kong-listed First Pacific Co Ltd has aborted its plan to take over Malaysian snacks and confectionery producer Cocoaland Bhd, citing a difference in the strategic fit it had initially seen.

According to a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, First Pacific had withdrawn its intention to acquire the business and undertaking of Cocoaland “due to a difference in the strategic fit offered by Cocoaland from what First Pacific had envisaged”.

Related Story: HK-based First Pacific offers $125m for Malaysia’s Cocoaland

First Pacific proposed on May 29 to acquire Cocoaland for $125 million (MYR463.32 million) or MYR2.70 per share. Cocoaland has been a buyout target over the past nine months. Most recently, prior to the First Pacific offer, Cocoaland had rejected Navis Asia VII Management Co Ltd’s offer of $104.5 million or MYR2.20 per share.

Related Story: EQT in talks with Cocoaland for potential takeover at $85m

 Malaysia based Cocoaland rejects Navis’ takeover offer, EQT still in running?

In April, Swedish private equity firm EQT had proposed to acquire the company as well for $85 million.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia dated June 2, Cocoaland said it received an indicative non-binding proposal dated from First Pacific, which detailed the proposed takeover of all its assets and liabilities will be undertaken by a special purpose vehicle (SPV).

Leverage Success Sdn Bhd, Cocoaland’s largest shareholder with a 38 per cent stake, had intended to acquire a stake in the SPV.

Cocoaland’s shares has tumbled upon the news of First Pacific’s withdrawal from the deal. At today’s close, the counter fell 15.42 per cent to MYR2.03, giving it a market capitalisation of MYR353.5 million.

The stock jumped 20 per cent to MYR2.46 when the First Pacific deal was first announced early June.