Saputo agrees to hike, extend Warrnambool offer after regulatory probe

December 17
1:55 AM 2013

Canada's Saputo Inc. has agreed to raise its bid for Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co and extend its offer period. The Canadian dairy company made the move following a probe by the country's takeover regulator.

According to Reuters, Australia's Takeover Panel on Tuesday said that complex changes to Saputo's agreed offer for Warrnambool were most undesirable. The regulator added that it also caused confusion and disruption in the market for Warrnambool shares. However, the Takeover Panel stopped short of issuing a so-called declaration of unacceptable circumstances. This could have nixed Saputo's sweetened offer for the Australian dairy firm. The regulator instead accepted key changes to the bid by Saputo and Warrnambool, the report said.

Saputo last month declared its bid unconditional. It also said that it would hike the offer from AU$9.00 to AU$9.20 per share in cash if it won more than 50% acceptances, Reuters said.

Under the agreement with the panel, Saputo's bid will increase to AU$9.40 per share with 75% acceptances and AU$9.60 per share with 90% acceptances. It also agreed to extend the offer period from December 20 to January 10, the report said.

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