All-Cash Offer Rivals the $2.9 Billion Deal Sought by Middleby

A month after agreeing to sell itself to Middleby Corp. for $2.9 billion, foodservice equipment Welbilt Inc. has received an even higher $3.3 billion bid from Ali Group, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Middleby’s purchase of Welbilt was expected to close in late 2021 if approved by regulatory agencies and shareholders. It is not clear yet whether Ali Group’s alternative offer will change the timeline of the sale. Middleyby’s offer is an all-stock  transaction while the Ali Group’s proposal is all cash at $23 per share.

“Our $23 per share proposal delivers significant cash premium value to Welbilt shareholders and is superior in every respect to Welbilt’s pending all-stock transaction with Middleby,” the company said in a statement. “In addition to superior value, our proposal offers greater certainty of closing for Welbilt and its shareholders. We and our advisors look forward to engaging with Welbilt and its advisors to quickly negotiate and finalize a definitive agreement.

Founded in 1963, Italy-based Ali Group employs more than 10,000 people in 30 countries and operates 58 manufacturing facilities. Its 25 brands include ACP, Beverage-Air, Carpigiani, Electro Freeze, Ice-O-Matic, Metro, and Scotsman.