SYDNEY Jan 9 Canada's Saputo Inc has
raised its stake in takeover target Warrnambool Cheese and
Butter Factory Holdings Co to 20.1 percent, the company
said on Thursday, making it the biggest shareholder just ahead
of its offer deadline on Friday.
Saputo is battling with Local bidder Murray Goulburn
Co-operative Co Ltd for Australia's oldest dairy firm, eyeing a
platform for rapidly growing sales of both traditional dairy
products and high-tech milk extracts to China.
Saputo's unconditional cash offer of A$515 million ($461
million) will rise as high as A$549 million ($492 million) if it
receives acceptances of 90 percent or more of Warrnambool
Murray Goulburn, with its A$530 million ($474.96 million)
offer, is waiting for a regulatory decision and said it may
increase its stake in Warrnambool via market purchases.
Saputo has not extended its offer, which is due on Friday,
although analysts expect the company to extend the offer period.
Saputo needs to win over former bidding rival Bega Cheese
Ltd, which pulled out of the race in December, or
Japanese beverage giant Kirin Holdings Co Ltd.