NEWS1 December 2009

Cossette agrees to sweetened takeover offer from Mill Road

M&A North America

CANADA— Marketing services group Cossette has accepted a sweetened takeover bid from US private equity group Mill Road Capital – increasing the value of the deal from C$131m to C$135m.

Mill Road has increased its offer price for the company from C$7.87 per share to C$8.10 in what appears to be an attempt to shut out rival bidder Cosmos, an investment group headed by former Cossette vice-chairman François Duffar.

Cosmos made the first move for Cossette back in July, but Mill Road won the backing of the marketing group’s board of directors and its CEO Claude Lessard (pictured) with a higher priced bid.

In response, Cosmos agreed to match Mill Road’s offer of C$7.87 and teased the possibility of bidding C$8.10 a share if it could gain access to the company’s book and conduct a thorough due diligence.

With Mill Road having beaten it to the punch, however, it seems likely that Cosmos will have to up its bid still further to stand any chance of coaxing the Cossette board to terminate its agreement with Mill Road (at a fee of C$4.5m).

Shareholders still have to approve the takeover deal and a meeting has been called for 18 December to discuss Mill Road’s offer.