Saputo leads bidding war for Warnambool Cheese & Butter Factory
The USD 432 million or AUD 449 million bid of Saputo Inc for Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co has topped all other offers. At AUD 8 per share, Canada's biggest dairy processing firm, bested the AUD 7.50 a share offer of Murray Goulburn Cooperative Co. It was also 19% higher than the bid from Warrnambool Cheese's largest stakeholder, Bega Cheese Ltd.
According to a Bloomberg report, the winning bidder would be able to leverage the production and export infrastructure of Warrnambool to meet the growing demand in Asian markets. Exports have been the backbone of Warrnambool's sales. Its brands include Sungold and Warrnambool cheddar.
RBS Morgans Analyst Belinda Moore told Bloomberg in a phone interview, "It's a very strategic asset, whether it's for Saputo to leverage the China dairy boom, or for Murray Goulburn and Bega Cheese to access the substantial synergy benefits of bringing the companies together. I wouldn't be surprised to see the bidding war continue."