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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kingmaker Bega claims spoils in Australia 'dairy wars', (TSE: SAP.TO)

Bega Cheese Ltd said on Thursday it would sell its stake in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co, all but handing victory to Canada's Saputo Inc in the battle for Australia's oldest dairy company.The sale lifts Saputo to just short of majority control, and is expected to prompt other investors to follow suit. That would allow the Canadian company to claim a win for its base offer of A$515 million ($460 million), ending one of Australia's most competitive takeover battles in recent years.Bega's decision to sell its 18.8 percent stake gives Saputo 45.2 percent of Warrnambool, based on its most recent shareholding disclosure."If I was a punter on this, I would be feeling quite happy for adding my money on Saputo winning this," said Michael Heffernan, senior client adviser at brokerage Lonsec.

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 0.97% or $0.49/share to $50.94. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $46.01 and as high as $54.62. On average, 281414 shares of SAP.TO exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 186297.