The family controlling Sika has claimed a legal victory over the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Cascade Investment, which challenged plans to sell the Swiss chemicals company to France’s Saint-Gobain.
According to the Financial Times, the Swiss federal administrative court confirmed that Saint-Gobain was entitled to buy the stake owned by the Burkard family without making an offer to public shareholders. The so-called “opting out” clause has been vigorously opposed by the Gates foundation trust and Cascade, which are Sika shareholders.
The Burkard family are relatives of Kaspar Winkler, who founded Sika in 1910.
The Gates trust and Cascade accused Mr Burkard of failing to act in the company’s best interests when he negotiated the sale of the family’s 16% stake to Saint-Gobain.
The FT notes that the December deal was contentious because the Burkard family’s shares carry 52% of voting rights, meaning that in effect the larger French rival would be taking over the whole company.