GERMANY, Rheda-Wiedenbrück. According to a report in the "Handelsblatt" newspaper, only two big names from the food industry are still interested in entering the Tönnies Group or buying the entire group.
For months, there has been speculation about a full or partial sale of Germany's largest meat group. Today, the Handelsblatt reports that the circle of interested parties is said to have thinned out considerably. According to the report, talks are now only continuing with the Brazilian meat giant JBS and the Taiwanese food group Uni-President. These two potential buyers are to be given an insight into the company's accounts in the coming weeks, reports the Düsseldorf-based business and financial newspaper. Subsequently, both companies could submit offers for the complete purchase or the acquisition of shares.
The group is owned by Robert Tönnies (50%), who has been in conflict with his uncle Clemens Tönnies (45%) for years. His son Maximilian Tönnies holds 5%. Clemens Tönnies has refused to comment on the sale rumors in the past. How things will proceed now is completely open. According to the Handelsblatt, various scenarios are being discussed in the industry. For example, there is speculation that the actual goal of the bidding process might not be a sale, but a realistic external assessment of the company's value. With concrete offers on the table, Clemens Tönnies could try to end the family feud by paying off his nephew Robert.
Given the group's long-term strategies and commitment to future issues such as animal welfare and alternative proteins, it seems hard to imagine the family withdrawing completely from the company. Under the direction of Clemens Tönnies, the construction of animal welfare barns and internationalization are being driven forward. His son Maximilian will continue to develop the business with plant-based products. The planned investments in Spain and China also hardly fit in with the rumored sales plans.
In an interview with fleischwirtschaft.de at the end of June, Clemens Tönnies did not give the impression of an office-weary patriarch willing to sell. "We have been around for 50 years as a family business," he referred to this year's company anniversary. Looking ahead to 2046, he expressed his firm conviction: "Then we will celebrate 75 years of Tönnies."