Raider beats KKR's dollars 2bn bid for Borden

BORDEN, the big US food group that has agreed to a dollars 2bn takeover by the buyout specialists Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, has received an informal counter- offer that values the company at more than dollars 2.3bn.

Paul Kazarian, a corporate raider and an expert in turning around companies, who once controlled Sunbeam-Oster, said yesterday he was prepared to buy as much as 90 per cent of the troubled conglomerate's shares for dollars 16 to dollars 17 apiece.

Mr Kazarian would pay for the acquisition with shares of another corporation and with an infusion of up to dollars 500m in new equity in Borden.

Borden agreed on 12 September to a dollars 14.25-a-share takeover by KKR and RJR Nabisco, the foods- to-tobacco giant that it controls. Under the terms of that deal, KKR will collect dollars 65m in cash if a majority of shareholders do not tender their shares by the close of business today, and could also purchase up to dollars 300m worth of Borden shares at dollars 11 apiece.

Borden shares were trading up 1 8 at 141 8 yesterday.

But there remain considerable doubts about the financing of Mr Kazarian's proposed bid. His Japonica Partners has assets of about dollars 180m, dollars 160m of which came as a result of a settlement with Sunbeam last year over Mr Kazarian's ousting as chairman.

Borden directors, who have been widely criticised for the KKR deal, will meet again today to consider any firm proposal from Japonica.

Borden, which lost dollars 630m last year on sales of dollars 5.51bn, has been struggling with dollars 2bn in debt from a 1980s acquisitions binge, some dollars 900m of which comes due this year.