Italy’s Ali Group Makes Sweetened Offer for Welbilt

Italy’s Ali Group has boosted its offer by $1 per share for Welbilt Inc., ramping up a potential bidding war for the U.S. maker of food-service equipment backed by billionaire Carl Icahn.

Milan-based Ali Group is offering $24 per-share in cash for Welbilt, according to a statement Monday, confirming an earlier report in Bloomberg News.

The offer includes a so-called hell or high water provision, requiring Ali Group to take all actions including divestitures to obtain antitrust approvals. Ali Group has also secured financing commitments from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Mediobanca SpA.

Ali Group, which supplies gelato dispensers and other equipment, had previously offered $3.3 billion in cash for Welbilt, or $23 a share. It’s seeking to outbid Middleby Corp., which previously had agreed to buy Welbilt for about $2.9 billion, or 0.124 Middleby share for each Welbilt stock.

“Given the minimal product overlap between our two companies and the fact that our proposed transaction does not require an Ali Group stockholder vote, we believe our proposal offers far greater certainty of closing than the Middleby transaction,” Ali Group said in the statement.

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