Bega Drops Out Of The Battle For Warrnambool Cheese

Bega is dropping out of a three-way tussle for ownership of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, telling shareholders today that it would close the book on its offer this Friday afternoon.

Bega was the first to submit a takeover bid for Warrnambool in September, ahead of rival offers by Murray Goulburn and Saputo.

It offered less money per share than its rivals and had the support of fewer than than 1% of Warrnambool shareholders as of yesterday.

Warrnambool was forced to lift the lid on the progress of the three bids yesterday, revealing that Saputo’s bid had been accepted by 16.9% of shareholders, although many of those could withdraw their acceptance by January 3 if they so chose.

Warrnambool was trading at just above $4.50 a share before Bega’s September 12 takeover bid was made public. Shares have since rocketed up to $9.20.

“Bega Cheese is pleased its takeover offer for WCB has facilitated the competitive takeover process and created significant value for WCB shareholders,” Bega stated today.

“Once its offer is closed, Bega Cheese will consider its options regarding its strategic shareholding in WCB.”

Bega shares are up about 1% on the news.

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