NEW YORK — The takeover battle for Anderson, Clayton & Co. escalated Thursday as Quaker Oats Co. announced that it has bought 23% of Anderson, Clayton's stock as a first step toward trying to acquire the company.
Quaker Oats, a cereal and pet food concern, is primarily interested in Anderson, Clayton's pet food unit, Gaines Foods Inc.
But so is Ralston Purina Co., the nation's biggest pet food company, which said last Friday that it too planned an offer for Anderson, Clayton.
Quaker Oats purchased 2.87 million Anderson, Clayton shares, and "ultimately Quaker would like to acquire 100%" of the company, said Ron Bottrell, a spokesman at Quaker Oats' headquarters in Chicago.
However, Bottrell said he could not yet comment on how Quaker Oats planned to pursue the acquisition. "I can't be too specific as to what our next action might be," he said.