December 18, 2017 / 5:40 PM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil court suspends Lactalis deal to buy Itambé -sources

(Adds details on decision, appeal)

SAO PAULO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - A Brazilian court issued an injunction suspending the sale of dairy company Itambé Alimentos SA to France’s Groupe Lactalis SA, three sources with knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

The decision by Judge Luis Felipe Ferrari Bedendi on Friday followed a motion by Vigor Alimentos SA, which has been controlled by Mexico’s Grupo Lala SAB de CV since October, questioning the deal between the producer cooperative CCPR and Lactalis.

Vigor owned a 50 percent stake in the company until November. In the motion, Vigor alleged that CCPR broke Itambé’s shareholders’ agreement by negotiating with a third party.

In the motion, Vigor also said that Groupe Lactalis had committed not to acquire Itambé during the negotiations to acquire Vigor, two of the sources said, asking for anonymity because the lawsuit is under seal.

Lactalis lost the deal to Mexico’s Grupo Lala in August.

A third source said the cooperative appealed the judge’s decision on Monday.

Vigor and CCPR are discussing the deal in an arbitration proceeding at the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce, two of the sources added.

CCPR declined to comment. Vigor did not immediately comment. (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

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