MILAN (Dow Jones) December 21, 2011 — Farm machinery manufacturer CNH Global NV (CNH) is considering its next move after its $246 million offer for Norwegian farm implement maker Kverneland ASA (KVEGF, KVE.OS) was topped by rival bidder Kubota Corp. (KUB, 6326.TO) of Japan, said a person familiar with the matter Wednesday.

"The game isn't over yet," said the person, who declined to provide futher information.

Earlier Wednesday, Kubota announced it had agreed with Kverneland shareholder Umoe AS to buy its 31.8% of Kverneland for NOK10.50 per share, topping CNH's NOK8.50 per share non-binding bid. Kubota has also offered NOK10.50 per share in cash for the remaining Kverneland shares.

Kubota's offer will be sent to shareholders "on or about Jan. 6, 2012," Kubota said in a disclosure statement.

Should CNH decide to up its offer for Kverneland, Kubota would still own a 31.8% stake in the company.

CNH is keen to acquire the company because Kverneland makes niche-market farm implements that will enhance CNH's product portfolio and bolster its global market position, Fiat SpA (F.MI) and Fiat Industrial SpA (FI.MI) executives said late Tuesday. Fiat Industrial is CNH's controlling shareholder.

Moreover, Kverneland's manufacturing footprint includes factories in China and Russia, said another Fiat executive.

Kverneland's order book was EUR52.6 million at the end of the third quarter of this year, up 50% over the same period a year ago. It has an agreement with CNH to supply selected products signed in the third quarter.

Kverneland wasn't immediately available for comment.

-By Jennifer Clark, Dow Jones Newswires; 

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