Ali Group and Welbilt Enter Merger Agreement, Transaction Valued at $3.5B

Ali Group, a manufacturer of foodservice equipment, and Welbilt entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Ali Group will acquire Welbilt in an all-cash transaction for $24 per share, or approximately $3.5 billion in aggregate equity value and $4.8 billion in enterprise value. The boards of directors of each company unanimously approved the merger agreement.

As previously reported, earlier this year, Ali Group submitted a proposal to the board of directors of Welbilt under which it would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Welbilt common stock for $23 per share in cash.

“We are pleased to announce this agreement with Welbilt and look forward to combining our highly complementary brands to create a comprehensive product portfolio and enhance our global footprint,” Filippo Berti, chairman and CEO of Ali Group, said. “We have long admired Welbilt’s heritage, breadth of products, brand strength and management team, and together we will have an expanded range of innovative products. The transaction marks a significant milestone in Ali Group’s history and will position us to better serve our customers and capitalize on attractive growth opportunities. We are excited to welcome Welbilt and its employees to the Ali Group family as we strengthen our global presence and continue to build on our culture of quality and innovation.”

“We are excited to reach this agreement with Ali Group, which delivers outstanding value to Welbilt shareholders, provides new opportunities for Welbilt employees and enables Welbilt to benefit from the expertise and resources of Ali Group,” Bill Johnson, president and CEO of Welbilt, said. “This transaction provides a compelling and certain cash value to Welbilt shareholders at an attractive premium and will create a global leader in the foodservice equipment and solutions industry with a full range of connectable foodservice solutions for our customers. I want to thank each of our employees for their hard work and dedication to the success of Welbilt, which has positioned us to reach this agreement today. On behalf of the Welbilt board and management team, we are excited to work closely with Filippo and the Ali Group team as we bring our companies together.”

In addition, Carl C. Icahn (and affiliates), who owns 7.7% of Welbilt stock, entered into a support agreement in favor of the transaction.

The transaction, which is not conditioned on financing, is expected to close in early 2022, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including the approval of Welbilt shareholders. Upon completion of the transaction, Welbilt’s shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Welbilt also confirmed that it terminated its previous merger agreement with The Middleby Corporation. Per the terms of the Middleby merger agreement, Ali Group paid Middleby a $110 million termination fee on Welbilt’s behalf as agreed to in the Ali Group merger agreement. In light of the termination of the agreement with Middleby, Welbilt cancelled its July 21 special stockholder meeting to approve the Middleby transaction. Welbilt expects to announce a special stockholder meeting to approve the Ali Group transaction at a future date.

Goldman Sachs is acting as Ali Group’s exclusive financial advisor, with financing provided by Goldman Sachs International and Mediobanca, and Alston & Bird is acting as legal advisor. Morgan Stanley is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Welbilt and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is serving as legal counsel.

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