Parmalat in with a bid

International dairy giant Parmalat and Australian cooperative Murray Goulburn have joined the race to acquire Dairy Farmers.

In a brief statement Dairy Farmers said the two groups had sought clearance from the Australian competition regulator for a joint bid for the company.

The Parmalat-led move is the third bidder to seek regulator clearance, following New Zealand’s Fonterra and National Foods, which is owned by Japan’s Kirin Holdings.

Dairy Farmers, which is a cooperative of about 2000 Australian farmers, put itself up for sale last month. There has been wide interest in the business, which has been valued at as much as a billion dollars.

Singapore’s Olam International has been named as another possible bidder, while another potential suitor, the Australia-based food maker Goodman Fielder, has reportedly pulled out of the race.

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