Warrnambool bid battle continues

The takeover battle for dairy company Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory continues, with Canadian firm Saputo considering extending its Friday deadline for acceptances of its $9 a share bid.

According to the Australian, Warrnambool’s board supports Saputo’s bid, but accepting the offer has been hampered by the recent holiday period, because some shareholders may have failed to mail their acceptance.

Saputo’s stake in Warrnambool is expected to be revealed today, with a Saputo adviser claiming it will be “a little more than 18 percent”, less than a controlling shareholding of 50 percent, and possibly less than takeover rival Bega Cheese’s 18.8 percent stake.

Saputo has the only unconditional takeover offer, following Bega’s withdrawal of its acquisition attempt last month.

The Murray Goulburn Co-operative, which has a has a 17.7 percent Warrnambool stake, has offered a $9.50 a share bid, however this is dependent on approval from the Australian Competition Tribunal, with its takeover dependent on it gaining more than a 50 percent Warrnambool shareholding.

The tribunal decision isn’t expected to be announced until the end of February at the earliest, so Saputo’s offer is appealing to Warrnambool’s shareholders, which include Bega and Kirin Holdings.

Warrnambool's share price has more than doubled since 12 September.


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