NEW YORK — The curtain has risen on the latest act in the Beiersdorf drama, with the company’s two largest shareholders, Tchibo and Allianz, apparently unable to come to an agreement over the prospect of the former buying out the latter’s 43.6 percent Beiersdorf stake — all with Procter & Gamble waiting in the wings.

A meeting between Allianz and Tchibo took place Tuesday, a day earlier than expected, and both parties are observing strict silence about the proceedings. The two parties reportedly remain considerably far apart on the topic of price. So are the banks and analysts, some valuing a Beiersdorf share as high as $151, or 130 euros at current rates of exchange, others as low as $109, or 94 euros. The stock has currently been trading at about $128, or 110 euros. At market prices, Allianz’s stake is worth about $4.7 billion, and the total book value of Beiersdorf over $11 billion.

While Procter & Gamble, the other“most interested party” has yet to make a bid for the Allianz shares in order to take over Beiersdorf, a source close to the manufacturer of Nivea said “there are signs that [P&G] is getting ready to do so.” But it would be a risky business, he added. Both Tchibo, which holds 30 percent of Beiersdorf and the Claussen family, which owns 10 percent, “have clearly said they won’t sell. That, combined with opposition from key members of the supervisory board, would make it impossible to gain full control [of Beiersdorf]. It could all end up as a multibillion-dollar misunderstanding.”

Peter Nebel, the Beiersdorf spokesman, confirmed that Beiersdorfis looking to buy back 10 percent of its shares as part of the consortium that has formed around Tchibo. Tchibo itself is expected to buy an additional 20 percent of Beiersdorf, the Tchibo family member but independent businessman Joachim Herz and an as-yet-unconfirmed bank the remaining 13.6 percent.

HSH Nordbank, which was named in earlier press reports as belonging to the consortium, is “looking into the matter,” a bank spokesman said. But there are plenty of other banks interested in taking HSH’s place, a source close to the dealings said. “The deal with the consortium won’t fall through if HSH Nordbank doesn’t go in.”The city of Hamburg has also been cited as a prospective financial partner in the Tchibo deal. However, Klaus May, spokesman for the Hamburg Senate, said the city has no intention of putting up any money to help buy out Allianz. “Hamburg can’t invest, it’s against every German and EU law. Plus what money should we give? It’s pure fantasy to imagine we have 1 billion euros lying around,” he stated.

Nevertheless, Hamburg’s financial senator, Wolfgang Peiner, and Gunnar Uldall, senator for economy and labor,are actively helping to broker a deal that would keep Beiersdorf in Hamburg, May acknowledged. “Peiner is not your typical politician. He has considerable experience and extensive contacts in financial and business circles. And he’s worried about the 4,800 Beiersdorf jobs in Hamburg, as well as the 200 million euros in annual Beiersdorf taxes. He will do everything to keep Beiersdorf here.”

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