Saputo again ups bid for Australian milk processor

by Eric Schroeder
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MONTREAL — Saputo, Inc. on Nov. 15 raised its offer to acquire Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co. Holdings Ltd. to A$9 ($8.43) per share, besting the A$8.675 per share offer submitted by Bega Cheese Ltd. on Nov. 14 and equal to the A$9 per share offer proposed by Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Ltd. on Nov. 13.

The bid by Murray Goulburn is considered “highly conditional,” as it is subject to no objection by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or to granting of authorization by the Australian Competition Tribunal. Saputo’s bid, though, is unconditional.

The board of directors of Warrnambool, which is one of Australia’s largest milk processors, reaffirmed its unanimous recommendation that Warmambool shareholders accept Saputo’s offer.

Saputo on Oct. 25 bid A$8 per share, and earlier bid A$7 on Oct. 8.

Based on the current issued share capital of Warrnambool, the purchase price for 100% of the shares would equal approximately $499 million.

With two manufacturing sites in South West Victoria and South Australia, Warrnambool produces cheese, butter and butter blends, milk, cream and dairy ingredients for domestic and export markets.

Saputo is one of the top 10 global dairy processors, with products including cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products and dairy ingredients sold in more than 40 countries.
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