Report: Sperian Shareholder Challenges Cinven Buyout

PARIS (Reuters) – One of the leading shareholders of Sperian Protection (SPEP.PA) is challenging an offer made by investment fund Cinven for the French protective equipment maker, Les Echos said on Friday.Investment fund Governance for Owners (GO), which holds about 10 percent of Sperian, has “serious doubts about the fairness of the offer and the treatment of minority shareholders”, the newspaper quoted a GO spokesman as saying.

GO is the third-largest shareholder in Sperian, behind corrective eye lenses maker Essilor (ESSI.PA), which owns 15 percent, and Ginette Dalloz, the founder’s widow, who has 13.2 percent. Essilor and Dalloz have agreed to tender their stakes.

Last month, the Menelas holding company owned by Cinven said it was planning a friendly 70 euro a share offer for Sperian, valuing the company at 536.2 million euros ($714.2 million). 

“Our offer does not favour Essilor or Mrs Dalloz in any way and absolutely respects the fairness principle between shareholders,” a spokesman for Cinven told Les Echos.

Sperian reported a 13.6 percent rise in first-quarter sales on Wednesday and confirmed its 2010 outlook. ($1=.7508 Euro) (Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)