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Simplot seeks to soothe regulator with Mr Chips deed

Jonathan Underhill

Thursday 19th June 2008

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Simplot Australia, a unit of closely held U.S. food processor JR Simplot Co, said it would forgo voting rights in Mr Chips Holdings to placate regulators over its takeover plan.

Simplot has agreements with holders of about 82% of Mr Chips, a New Zealand supplier of frozen potato products for the fast-food industry, to support a possible takeover.

In April, Mr Chips urged shareholders not to sell their stock because Simplot had indicated it planned to make an offer for the company at a "substantial premium" to its stock price at the time. Mr Chips shares recently traded unchanged at NZ$2.60 having almost doubled this year.

Simplot released a deed poll under which it forgoes the right to obtain voting commitments from Mr Chips shareholders who had entered agreements over their stock. That follows concern from New Zealand's Takeovers Panel that the original plan may have breached the nation's Takeovers Code, according to a statement from David Quigg, a partner at Quigg Partners, which is advising Simplot.

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