Italian catering equipment giant Ali Group expects the takeover of Welbilt to almost double the size of its presence in North America and significantly boost its sales in the fast food segment.
The firm is set to get its hands on Welbilt after rival Middleby confirmed yesterday that it would not be revising an earlier offer that Welbilt had originally accepted before agreeing to Ali Group’s $24-a-share proposal.
Privately-held Ali Group told news agency Reuters that the fast food sector had weathered the Covid pandemic better than any other category of the hospitality sector and Welbilt’s equipment would give it greater access to customers in this space.
Ali Group brands such as Carpigiani – which supplies gelato machines to McDonald’s – already have strong partnerships with QSRs, but the company said it couldn’t pass up the opportunity to acquire brands including Frymaster, Merrychef and Garland, which deliver fresh, hot food on demand.
“The transaction would roughly double the portion of our overall sales in the fast food segment from the current 10%-15% while also nearly doubling our presence in North America,” Ali Group stated, disclosing its strategy publicly for the first time.
The company, which has secured financing from Goldman Sachs and Mediobanca to fund the deal, told Reuters the proposed deal would create an industry giant with turnover of $3.5 billion (£2.5 billion).
The news agency reported that it would be the biggest deal for an Italian company in the US for more than seven years and would create a group with a 14,000-strong workforce and operations in 34 countries.
Ali Group was founded in 1963 and operates out of Milan, while its US headquarters is based in Chicago.
It has 58 manufacturing facilities in 15 countries and sales and service subsidiaries throughout Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Its equipment is used by major restaurant and hotel chains, independent restaurants, hospitals, schools, airports and contract caterers.