Canadian dairy firm Saputo lifts Warrnambool stake to 20pct

By VCPOST Staff Reporter

Jan 09, 2014 12:50 AM EST

Saputo Inc has lifted its stake in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Ltd to 20.1%, according to an ASX statement. The acquisition made the Montreal dairy giant the largest shareholder in its takeover target, wrote Business Spectator.

Unless extended, the Canadian firm's takeover offer of $9-per-share for Warrnambool is scheduled to end tomorrow at 1900 AEST. Warrnambool advisers say it would be unusual for a takeover bid to close without prior announcement, the report said.

Warrnambool directors including Bruce Vallance and Kay Antony have exited their shares to Saputo, the ASX statement yesterday revealed. The company's chief executive, David Lord, has also offloaded his shares to Saputo, the report detailed.

Saputo is trying to get Bega Cheese Ltd to sell an 18.8% Warrnambool stake this week. This sale may convince other shareholders to also exit their shares to Saputo and give the latter a majority stake. The takeover tussle for Warrnambool has dragged on for four months now, the report explained.

Should Saputo achieve a majority shareholding in Warrnambool, Murray Goulburn Co-operative Ltd's $9.50-per-share takeover bid would end. That offer is subject to the condition that it would get a 50.1% share in Warrnabool, Business Spectator reported.

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