Montreal/Sydney, Australia – Saputo Inc. has extended its takeover offer for an Australian dairy producer, just hours before the deadline.
Saputo says it has extended the offer period until Jan. 22 and has declared its unconditional all-cash takeover for all the issued shares in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd. as its last and final offer.
Saputo is now the largest shareholder in Warrnambool with a relevant interest of more than 21 per cent as of Jan. 9, 2014.
Warrnambool has been the target of several bids. Saputo is up against Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co., another Australia-based dairy producer, for control of the company.
Saputo has offered as much as 9.60 Australian dollars (US$8.54) a share as long as it can secure a stake of more than 90 per cent, which would value Warrnambool at about A$538 million.
The online Wall Street Journal reports that Murray Goulburn’s bid is for A$9.50 a share, although it is conditional on approval from the country’s competition regulator.
Warrnambool was established 125 years ago and produces brands including Sungold milk. The online Wall Street Journal reports that 50 per cent of the company’s sales are overseas, including to Asia where rising incomes are fueling increases in dairy consumption.
Bega Cheese Ltd., another Australia-based dairy producer, had made a bid for Warrnambool last September, but has withdrawn from the race.