Aga attracts a suitor

Aga Rangemaster, the maker of the iconic cast-iron cookers, has attracted another potential suitor, with American white goods giant Whirlpool now expected to make an offer.

Aga Rangemaster, the maker of the iconic cast-iron cookers, has attracted another potential suitor. US white goods giant Whirlpool is now expected to make an offer. The move comes less than a week before a shareholder meeting to consider a bid on the table from Middleby, a Chicago-based commercial cooking equipment maker keen to expand in the residential market. Middleby has bid 185p a share. Aga shares bounced 15% on the news of Whirlpool's interest.

What the commentators said

Aga has struggled in the past few years, said Deirdre Hipwell in The Times. It has been hobbled by a pension fund deficit that has surged to £72m, compared to pre-tax profits and sales of £700,000 and £261m respectively in 2014. With total returns negative over a decade, shareholders will be happy to merge with either suitor, said Lex. Their strong balance sheets "could eliminate the pension issue and put global distribution muscle behind Aga's strong brand" there's now the prospect of a bidding war with American cash to drive up the price.

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