LONDON (AP) -- A $2.1 billion bid by Manitowoc Company Inc. for Enodis PLC was endorsed by the British cooking equipment supplier Tuesday, ending a takeover fight with Illinois Tool Works.
Enodis said that it will recommend a 328 pence ($6.55) per share cash offer from Manitowoc Company Inc., a U.S. ice machine maker, following an auction arranged by Britain's takeover regulator.
The Takeover Panel said that Illinois Tool Works had withdrawn its 280 pence ($5.59) per share offer announced in May. The panel added that it had agreed not to reveal details of any increased bid made by Illinois Tool Works during the auction.
Enodis chairman Peter Brooks said that the final offer from Manitowoc was the best value for shareholders.
"Having considered carefully all aspects of the bids received, including transaction timing and execution risk, in particular from an antitrust perspective, and the higher price which this offer provides, the board of Enodis intends to recommend unanimously the offer from Manitowoc to shareholders," Brooks said in a statement.
The final offer from Manitowoc, based in the Wisconsin city of the same name, is well above its first offer in April of 260 pence ($5.09) per share.
Enodis, which supplies fryer systems, refrigeration units and ice and beverage dispensers to restaurants and retailers, including McDonald's Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., had consistently supported increased bids from Manitowoc despite attempts by Illinois Tool Works to stymie a deal.
An Enodis-Manitowoc tie-up will give Manitowoc entry into two major new market segments — hot food service and food retail equipment.
"Even at the higher price, we believe the strategic benefits of the combination are significant while remaining consistent with the strict financial disciplines that we have adhered to for all our acquisitions," said Manitowoc chief executive officer Glen E. Tellock.
Enodis has successfully fought off a series of takeover bids over the past two years.
The company, which has manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and Asia, and employs 6,800 workers, in May reported a profit of 9.7 million pounds ($19 million) for the six months ending March 29, compared with 17.3 million pounds in the comparable period a year ago. It attributed the drop in profit to the cost of restructuring.
Enodis shares fell 1.3 percent at 314.25 pence ($6.28) after the announcement.