Company News

By IE Staff |

Werba Reinhard Holdings has raised its bid for Loring Ward International Ltd., offering US$18 a share for the financial advisory firm.

Today’s bid bid follows Loring Ward’s recommendation Tuesday that shareholders accept an offer of US$17.35 a share from Friedman Fleischer and Lowe.

That bid, valuing Loring Ward at US$134 million, topped an earlier offer from Werba Reinhard.

New York-based Loring Ward, which has about 80 employees and was formerly part of the Winnipeg-based Assante wealth management group, now owned by CI Financial.

In announcing its new offer, Werba Reinhard complained of obstruction by the Loring Ward board and attacked the break fee and expenses involved in the agreement with Friedman Fleischer and Lowe.

“The combined break fee and expenses of US$6.2 million that the board has committed to pay FFL now total over 5% of the current enterprise value,” said Werba Reinhard in a release.

Werba Reinhard says the company, through its shareholders Eli Reinhard and Alan Werba is the largest beneficial shareholder of Loring Ward.

“WRI believes these costs are without precedent for a Canadian deal of this size, and combined they are not consistent with market comparables,” the San Jose, Calif.-based firm said.

CEO Alan Werba added that his firm has been denied access to due diligence, and “given that both FFL and WRI have shown a strong interest in purchasing Loring Ward, we were quite surprised that the board of Loring Ward would deem it appropriate to raise FFL’s break fee in the last round of bidding.”

He added that if the break fee and other expenses were rolled back, his firm would be prepared to offer US$18.90 per share.

“We call on the board to exercise its fiduciary duty to treat both potential bidders fairly in order to maximize shareholder value,” Werba said.