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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Canada's Saputo keeps Australian dairy war alive with offer extension, (TSE: SAP.TO)

Canada's Saputo Inc extended its offer for Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co on Friday, just hours before the bid deadline, ensuring the heated battle for the country's oldest dairy firm will wage on. Saputo announced a two-week extension for its A$515 million ($458 million) offer until Jan. 22 and reserved the right to extend it further, keeping up the pressure on bidding rival Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Ltd.At stake is a platform for rapidly growing sales of both traditional dairy products and high-tech milk extracts into China.Saputo, Canada's largest dairy firm, is now the biggest shareholder in Warrnambool with acceptances worth 21.39 percent of the company.That puts it just ahead of former bidder Bega Cheese Ltd, which holds 18.8 percent of the company, and Murray Goulburn, which owns 17.7 percent. Japanese beverage giant Kirin Holdings Co Ltd holds a further 10 percent.

Saputo Inc. produces, markets and distributes an array of dairy products in Canada, the United States, Argentina and Europe, as well as bakery products in Canada. Shares of SAP traded higher by 0.2% or $0.1/share to $49.01. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $46.01 and as high as $54.62. On average, 276602 shares of SAP.TO exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 124307.