Italian pasta maker Barilla said it would consider raising its €12 per share bid for Europe's leading baker Kamps AG, should a rival bidder emerge, a German newspaper reported on Saturday.
Kamps management has rejected the previous offer, which is part of a rare hostile takeover attempt in the consensus-driven German corporate world, because it was considered too low.
Until now Barilla has ruled out raising its offer and the Chairman has even said he would drop the bid if a ``white knight'' were to make a better offer.
Chairman Guido Barilla reiterated that he saw the offer price as good for Kamps. The pasta firm says the bid values Kamps, which is 15 percent management-owned, at over nine times 2001 earnings before interest, tax and depreciation.
Guido Barilla quelled speculation it would sell off the German bakery, should the takeover succeed. ``Certainly not. Instead we are particularly interested in the store as we don't have a branch network yet,'' he said.
Major institutional shareholders in Kamps have said they would accept the €1.76 billion takeover bid. Analysts have said Sara Lee Corp, the Chicago-based consumer products giant whose worldwide baking business has annual sales of around $3.3 billion (€3.7 billion), could make a bid for Kamps. Sara Lee has declined to comment. But some market watchers said a bid by Sara Lee was at most an outside chance, saying the speculation was favourable to Kamps as it put pressure on Barilla to raise its offer.