The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has approved Bega’s takeover bid for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, clearing the way for the massive, $320 million deal to proceed.
Bega’s takeover offer last month lit a fuse under Warrnambool’s share price and sparked rival bids from Saputo and Murray Goulburn.
The Bega offer expires on 28 November. Bega was expected to improve its offer after securing ACCC approval, so today’s announcement could move Warrnambool’s share price again.
Saputo’s bid is the best cash offer, but needs to be approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board. Murray Goulburn’s offer still needs to be approved by the ACCC.
“A merged Bega and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter would continue to be constrained by other dairy manufacturers that they compete more closely with in the acquisition of raw milk, including Murray Goulburn and Fonterra,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said today.
“Murray Goulburn and Fonterra are also the largest suppliers of each of the processed dairy products supplied by Bega and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, and would be likely to competitively constrain the parties, in the event that they merge, in the future.”