That means a premium of 25.5% over Friday’s closing price of Hunter Douglas stock, or 18.8% over the average price of the stock over the past 30 days. Sonnenberg (86), who has hired ING for the stock exchange exit, already owns an 82.7% interest in the Rotterdam company. The stock market value of the company is € 1.8 billion.
Hunter Douglas has been listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange since 1969. The company generates nearly half of its sales in North America. Partly thanks to the success of Luxaflex, Sonnenberg is in 8th place in the Quote 500 of the richest Dutch with an estimated wealth of € 2.2 billion.
A rare photo of Ralph Sonnenberg (right), here in the company of Prince Claus.
Ⓒ Photo ANP
Shareholders’ meeting in Curaçao
However, Sonnenberg is not a fan of transparency. Hunter Douglas’ annual shareholders meeting takes place in Curaçao.
The company included in the Amsterdam small cap index is an unknown giant for many non-investors. Hunter Douglas had an EBITDA result of $ 503 million on revenues of $ 3.6 billion in 2019. The company has 22,500 employees.
This year, Hunter Douglas is suffering from the corona crisis. Sales declined by 10% in the first nine months of this year. The stock price also plunged more than 20% in March. That is also seen as the motivation behind the offer. “Sonnenberg has every confidence in the company, but not the market in his view,” said a source close to the company. “Compare it with the Wessels family who took VolkerWessels off the stock exchange again.”
Sonnenberg’s sons David and Marko act as co-CEOs, Sonneberg is even chairman of the supervisory board. The company has regularly been the object of criticism from investor associations for the marginal position of minority shareholders.
On Saturday evening, the three independent supervisory directors met about the offer, they decided to embrace it and recommend it to the other shareholders after a fairness opinion from investment bank NIBC. In fact, the takeover bid would not even be necessary, because the regulations in Curaçao already offer a major shareholder like Sonnenberg sufficient possibilities to take the company off the stock exchange without a takeover bid. Sonnenberg has already announced that it will fumigate shareholders who do not sell.