Murray Goulburn anticipates regulator decision on A$530M Warrnambool offer by end-February

January 7
2:06 AM 2014

Australia's Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Ltd. on Tuesday said it expects a regulatory decision on its offer for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co. by the end of February, a shorter time-frame than initially anticipated.

According to Reuters, Murray Goulburn is anxiously awaiting approval for it's A$530 million bid for Warrnambool as it faces strong competition with Canada's Saputo Inc. Saputo has the only unconditional offer on the table.

Saputo in December sweetened it's A$515 million ($461 million) offer for Warrnambool, increasing the value with incremental acceptance levels. It will rise as high as A$549 million ($492 million) if it receives acceptances of 90% or more of Warrnambool shareholders, the report said.

The Australian Competition Tribunal has scheduled a five-day hearing into Murray Goulburn's offer to start on February 10. Analysts had been expecting the tribunal to take as long as three to six months to make a final decision, Reuters said.

Former bidding rival Bega Cheese Ltd. and Murray Goulburn both own around 18% of Warrnambool, while Japan's Kiring Holdings Co. Ltd. holds 10% through its Australian subsidiary Lion Co., the report said. 

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