Why Central Garden & Pet Co. Shares Popped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Central Garden & Pet Co. (NASDAQ: CENT  ) rallied 10% today after consumer products conglomerate Harbinger Group (NYSE: HRG  ) offered to acquire the pet and garden products supplier for $10 per share.

So what: The offer represents a premium of 11% to Central Garden's closing price on Friday and is about 28% higher from its price at the close of business on June 6, the last trading day before Harbinger disclosed its initial stake and desire to discuss strategic alternatives. Alternatively, Harbinger said on Monday that it would offer to buy Central Garden's pet segment for $750 million in cash.

Now what: Harbinger noted that it would consider increasing its offer as long as Central Garden's Board engages in constructive communication and grants access to diligence materials. "In the face of the significant premium we are offering, combined with your ability to potentially obtain even greater value from either us or from a third party, we urge you as members of the Board to fulfill your fiduciary duties to all the stockholders by engaging with us regarding our value creating proposals," wrote Harbinger CEO Philip Falcone in a letter to Central Garden's Board. "Based on the reactions we have heard from many of the Company's stockholders in response to our June 9 letter, we believe that the Company's stockholders emphatically support the Board's entering into a constructive and professional dialogue with us, and see absolutely no downside in doing so." Of course, unless you'd be perfectly willing to own Central Garden as a long-term stand-alone investment, it's probably best to watch the process unfold from the sidelines. 

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