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June 23, 2014, 5:20 a.m. EDT

Harbinger to bid $1.1 billion for Central Garden & Pet

Unsolicited offer could come Monday

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By Ryan Dezember

Harbinger Group Inc., the holding company headed by hedge-fund titan Philip Falcone, is preparing to make an unsolicited offer to acquire Central Garden & Pet Co. for about $1.1 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Earlier this month, Harbinger Group  disclosed a 3.1% stake in the Walnut Creek, Calif. company and publicized a letter it sent Central’s /zigman2/quotes/206292828/composite CENTA 0.00%  board in which it requested a meeting and urged the company to consider selling itself to Harbinger.

Harbinger said then that it had unsuccessfully tried to engage the company in closed-door talks. A deal offered “substantial opportunity” for Central “to reverse what we believe to be years of underperformance,” Harbinger said. Central hasn’t publicly responded to the letter.

Harbinger’s offer, which could come as soon as Monday, will be for $10 a share for all classes of Central’s stock, the person said. As an alternative to an acquisition of the entire company, Harbinger also will offer to buy Central’s pet business for $750 million, the person said.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com

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