The controversy surrounding European building materials supplier Saint-Gobain's attempted takeover of Swiss chemicals company and competitor Sika has intensified. According to Reuters, the Burkard-Schenker family, which owns a controlling stake in Sika, said this week it has filed a lawsuit to help push through the €2.3 billion (US$2.8 billion) takeover announced last month.
Saint-Gobain agreed to purchase Schenker-Winkler Holding AG – a business run by the Burkard-Schenker family, whose ancestor helped form Sika – which owns 16.1 percent of Sika’s capital and 52.4 percent of its voting rights. Saint-Gobain said it would not pursue Sika's remaining shares and that it plans to further develop the company once the acquisition closed.
When the acquisition was announced, Sika's top executives balked, saying they weren't consulted about the transaction, "do not support the change of control of Sika to Saint-Gobain" and will resign if the deal goes through.
According to the Jan. 5 Reuters report, Schenker-Winkler Holding said it had "filed a lawsuit with the cantonal court of Zug to force an extraordinary shareholder meeting in order to oust board members who have sided with management."
"Schenker-Winkler Holding seeks to ensure a prompt fulfillment of the contract between Saint-Gobain and the Burkard family and a rapid return to daily business," the family said in a statement.
"That would pave the way for the sale to Saint-Gobain to go ahead by giving the family and people close to them the majority of board seats, and reinforce ranks should Sika's board and management opposing the sale of 52.4 percent of the voting rights to the French company to make good on their threat to walk out," the Reuters report reads.
Watch www.mdm.comfor updates to this story.