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Haier Drops Maytag Bid

7/20/2005 09:58:00 AM Eastern

Benton Harbor, Mich. — Haier America Trading has dropped its bid for Maytag in the wake of Whirlpool’s surprise $1.33 billion offer to acquire the ailing appliance giant.

Whirlpool’s unsolicited cash and stock proposal topped a $1.28 billion cash offer from the Chinese white- and brown-goods maker and its backers, Bain Capital Partners and Blackstone Management Associates. Whirlpool’s proposal has also sparked speculation that Electrolux may now throw its hat in the ring.

The Haier group’s withdrawal came days before it was expected to complete due diligence on Maytag, which received a letter from the suitors “stating that they have determined not to further pursue the transaction.”

Still on the table is Maytag’s initial $1.13 billion all-cash acquisition agreement with an investment group led by Ripplewood Holdings, which is backed by Maytag’s board. The consortium, operating as Triton Acquisition Holding, is pressuring Maytag to press ahead with their merger by threatening to kill the deal and collect a $40 million termination fee, as permitted under the agreement. Triton also has a “last look” right to review and match a rival offer.