Hedge fund Engine Capital urges Univar to consider sale, other options

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 Hedge fund Engine Capital urges Univar to consider sale, other options
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(Reuters) -U.S. hedge fund Engine Capital on Wednesday urged Univar Solutions Inc to consider a sale or other strategic options, days after Germany's Brenntag SE said it was in preliminary talks to buy the chemicals distributor.


Engine Capital, which owns about 1% of Univar, said in an open letter that the bid by Brenntag confirms its view that the company is "undervalued" and a "highly attractive acquisition target".

While Brenntag and Univar did not disclose any financial details from their talks, Engine Capital said a sale price between $38 and $44 per share is achievable if the Univar board runs a competitive sale process.

It urged the company to publicly invite bids from other parties to begin the sale process.

"While we acknowledge the industrial logic of a combination between Univar and Brenntag, and believe the synergies would be material, we also note that private equity has been actively involved in the space," Engine Capital said in the letter.

Engine Capital on Wednesday also made public a letter it had sent to Univar in October, in which it said it favored Univar's sale to private buyers over public market investors.

In response to a Reuters request for comment, a Univar spokesperson said, "We value the view of our shareholders and we will continue to make decisions and take actions that we believe are in the best interests of the company and our shareholders."

Brenntag declined to comment.

(Reporting by Ruhi Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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