Bega extends takeover offer for Australian dairy firm Warrnambool

December 11
2:25 AM 2013

Bega Cheese chairman Barry Irvin says they could form a super Australian dairy firm if Murray Goulburn accepts its offer for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (WCB). Bega is the only firm that can process acceptances in the three-way contest for WCB, according to The Age.

Murray Goulburn offered $9.50 per WCB share, or $533 million. This offer is subject to approval from the competition tribunal. The said approval could take until late February. Meanwhile, the Australian Takeovers Panel has blocked Canada's Saputo from paying its $9-offer to its shareholders. Bega offered $2 cash per share, plus 1.5 Bega shares. The latter valued its bid for WCB at $8.60 per share, the report detailed.

Since the bidding tussle began in September, farmer shareholders and analysts have suggested that Bega could possibly join forces with Murray to keep WCB in Australian hands. Bega owns around 18.3% of WCB and Murray Goulburn owns another 17%. However, the latter's managing director, Gary Helou, rejected the merger bid, the report stated.

Irvin said under company policies, Bega and Murray Goulburn were not allowed to discuss a possible merger until the completion of the bidding process. He joked that his company could be the only suitor left if the tribunal and takeovers panel scraps the bids of Saputo and Goulburn, The Age reported.

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