The Australian parent of Winnipeg feed manufacturer Ridley Inc. has sold its controlling stake in the feed company to a Toronto financial services firm.
Fairfax Financial Holdings said in a release Wednesday that it paid $8.50 a share for 9.53 million shares of Ridley Inc., for an aggregate price of about $81 million, to Ridley’s Australian parent company, Ridley Co. Ltd.
The deal, which gives Fairfax a 69 per cent controlling interest in Ridley Inc., is expected to be sealed by Oct. 20, Ridley said in a separate release Wednesday. Fairfax did not previously own any Ridley shares.
Ridley Inc. shares (RCL:TSX) closed Tuesday on the TSX at $8 each, and were trading before lunchtime Wednesday at $8.99.
The deal between Ridley Australia and Fairfax is a private sale, Ridley Inc. said in its release, and “no offer will be made to Ridley shareholders generally.”
That said, Fairfax noted in its release that “the shares
are being purchased for investment purposes and Fairfax may acquire additional shares from time to time in accordance with applicable laws.”
Under the terms of the deal, Ridley Inc. will separate its joint credit facility and insurance policies from the Australian firm, and will also continue to operate under the name Ridley Inc.
“We look forward to meeting with Mr. Prem Watsa and other representatives from Fairfax to discuss the company’s business and strategy,” said Brian Hayward, chairman of Ridley Inc.’s board, in its release.
Ridley Inc., whose brands include FeedRite, Ridley, Hubbard Feeds and Sweetlix, maintains head office operations both in Winnipeg and in Mankato, Minn., southwest of Minneapolis. Ridley Australia announced in May that it wanted to put its stake in the Canadian company up for sale.