PMI Mulls Lowering Threshold for SM Bid

    Photo: Swedish Match

    Philip Morris International is considering lowering the acceptance threshold on its $16 billion takeover bid for Swedish Match, reports Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

    The multinational is reportedly contemplating the move as it seeks ways to increase the likelihood the acquisition will go through amid opposition from shareholders, including Elliott Investment Management.

    Elliott has secured a 5.25 percent stake in Swedish Match. The activist investor has a history of building stakes in European targets to block full takeovers and secure a higher price.

    PMI’s bid was originally conditional on it getting more than a 90 percent stake in Swedish Match, a level that would normally allow it to squeeze out any remaining dissenters and take the company private. The idea of lowering the acceptance threshold raises the prospect that Philip Morris could end up with a majority stake in Swedish Match and keep it publicly traded, at least temporarily.

    Last month, Philip Morris extended the acceptance period for the offer to Oct. 21 after regulators in Europe indicated they needed more time to review the bid.