SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) — Canada’s Saputo Inc. has secured majority control of Australia’s Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co. Holdings Ltd., putting pressure on rival bidder Murray Goober Co-operative Co. to concede defeat.
Saputo said it had increased its shareholding in Australia’s oldest dairy maker to 52.7 percent, giving it control after a months-long battle aimed at tapping growing demand in Asia for traditional dairy products and high-tech milk extracts.
Murray Goulburn said it would “commercially assess” its 17.7 percent shareholding, noting that Saputo’s offer rises to $9.20 Aus per share from the base $9 per share, or $515 million, having reached the 50 percent threshold.
Saputo’s offer will rise again to $9.40 per share on 75 percent acceptances, and $9.60 per share, or $537 million, on 90 percent acceptances.
That top level puts it above Murray Goulburn’s $9.50 per share, or $532 million, offer, but it is conditional on the acceptance of 50 percent and regulatory approval.