Talley’s to lift Open Country stake in $46.4m deal with Olam

Talley's Group, the privately-held maker of foods ranging from frozen fish to ice cream, has agreed to buy up to 14.99% of Open Country Dairy from Singapore's Olam International for as much as $46.5 million.

The deal would lift Talley's holding of the dairy company to as much as 70.5% from 55.5%, increasing its control of a business that returned to profit in 2012 while tapping shareholders for funds to repay debt. The sale price is close to the current carrying value of the investment in Olam's accounts, it says.

Olam's stake would reduce to as low as 10%, leaving it as the second-largest shareholder just ahead of Dairy Investment Fund on 9.99%. Talley's is required to make a partial takeover offer under the terms of the Takeovers Code and its transaction with Olam will be a combination of direct sale of shares and acceptance of the offer, Olam says.

"The transaction will release cash for Olam while still maintaining product off-take arrangements with Open Country, which are strategically important for Olam's dairy supply chain business," it says.

Talley's, which is controlled by Nelson's Talley family, has widened its interests in the food industry in recent years, including taking control of meat processor Affco in 2010.