Murray Goulburn bows out of Warrnambool bid, triggers higher Saputo offer

SYDNEY Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:59pm EST

SYDNEY Jan 23 (Reuters) - Australia's Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Ltd dropped its bid for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co Holdings Ltd on Thursday, announcing it planned to sell its 17.7 percent stake to rival bidder Saputo Inc.

Murray Goulburn's capitulation lifts Saputo's stake in Australia's oldest dairy firm to 75.4 percent, triggering a 20 cents rise in its offer price to A$9.40 per share or A$526 million ($465.96 million).

If Saputo reaches 90 percent acceptances, the offer will rise again to A$9.60 per share, or A$537 million.

Murray Goulburn's A$9.50 per share, or A$532 million, offer was conditional on both acceptances of 50 percent and regulatory approval that is not due until next month.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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