MONTREAL—Saputo’s battle to acquire an Australian dairy processor heated up again when its main rival trumped the Canadian cheese giant’s bid with a new leading offer.
The dominant Australian dairy processor said the merger with Warrnambool Cheese & Butter would allow it to become “uniquely positioned with scale and capacity to capture the unfolding long-term opportunity in international dairy markets.”
However, it needs the approval of Australia’s competition regulator because it would control more than 40 per cent of the market by adding Warrnambool’s 10 per cent.
Murray Goulburn’s bid is double what Warrnambool’s shares traded at Sept. 11, which as just prior to the initial offer by Bega Cheese Ltd. that lead to the three-way bidding war.
In addition to regulatory approval the firm, which owns about 18 per cent of Warrnambool’s stock, would need to win support from a majority of shareholders.
Montreal-based Saputo didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the latest bid.
Warrnambool urged its shareholders not to take any action on the new Murray Goulburn bid until it can study the offer.