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Head office and manufacturing company Saputo Inc., seen in Montreal, November 14, 2013. (Christinne Muschi For The Globe and Mail)
Head office and manufacturing company Saputo Inc., seen in Montreal, November 14, 2013. (Christinne Muschi For The Globe and Mail)

Saputo clinches Australian dairy deal as rival waves white flag Add to ...

Saputo Inc.’s holdout rival in the bidding war for Australia’s Warrnambool Cheese and Butter has waved the white flag.

Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Ltd. has agreed to sell its shares in Warrnambool to Montreal-based Saputo, a move that will push Saputo’s majority interest in Warrnambool above the 75-per-cent threshold.

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Saputo said on Wednesday it secured majority control of Warrnambool, with a 52.7-per-cent position, essentially ending a months-long fight for control of Warrnambool.

The win for Saputo gives it a key platform from which to sell into Asian markets where demand for dairy products and milk extracts is growing at a rapid clip.

Murray Goulburn’s has a 17.2-per-cent holding in Warrnambool.

Saputo’s offer for Warrnambool rose to $9.20 (Australian) per share from $9.00 when its stake rose above 50 per cent.

With the stake increasing to 75 per cent, Saputo’s offer rises again to $9.40 per share.

Last week, former rival Bega Cheese Ltd. agreed to sell its 18.8 per cent stake to Saputo.

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