A Chinese food group is reportedly looking to acquire Warrnambool Cheese & Butter, and could join rival bidders Canadian-owned Saputo and Australia’s Murray Goulburn late in the game.
Saputo, Murray Goulburn and Bega have been fighting for Warrnambool ownership since September. Bega bowed out last week as rival offers escalated.
News Limited’s Brett Cole reports today that the government-owned China Investment Corporation is backing an effort to mount a Warrnambool takeover bid in anticipation for growing demand for diary products in the country.
The Chinese company could be looking to buy Bega’s 18.7% share in Warrnambool, Cole reports, noting that Bega chairman Barry Irvin visited China on business last month.
Today’s report comes after Warrnambool Cheese directors unanimously asked shareholders to reject Murray Goulburn’s conditional, $9.50-a-share offer and accept Saputo’s offer of $9 to $9.60.
WCB is trading at $9.26 today, up significantly from $4.50 when it started fielding takeover offers in mid-September.
There’s more on The Australian.