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Russian firm makes new bid for Buhler

A Russian combine manufacturer has reworked its bid to buy a majority stake in farm implement maker Buhler Industries, moving to an all-cash offer.

Combine Factory Rostselmash had raised eyebrows among market analysts with its previous bid this summer, in which it offered to buy 51 per cent of the publicly traded Winnipeg company (BUI: TSX) at $7.50 per share, followed by 7.25 per cent in each of the years 2009 to 2012 at $7.60, for a total of 80 per cent.

Following negotiations with Buhler management, the new offer announced yesterday calls for Rostselmash to buy a full 80 per cent stake for $7.25 per share in cash by a closing date of October 31 this year, pending a recommendation from the Buhler board to shareholders.

John Buhler, the company’s founder and principal shareholder and a well-known Manitoba philanthropist, has told reporters he favours the deal.

Buhler’s board of directors will meet on Tuesday (Sept. 18) to discuss the revised offer and make its recommendation to shareholders.

Rostselmash, according to its web site, has operated in Russia since 1931 and made the transition from a state-owned to publicly traded company in 1992. According to Buhler, Rostselmash handles over 17 per cent of the total world production of farm combines.

Buhler runs 10 plants in North America and owns the Versatile, Allied, Farm King and Inland brands. Its shares on the TSX closed at $6.85 on Friday afternoon, up from $6.70 on Thursday.

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