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Monday, January 6, 2014

Murray Goulburn sees regulator decision on Warrnambool offer by end-Feb, (TSE: SAP.TO)

Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Ltd said on Tuesday it expects a regulatory decision on its offer for Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co by the end of February, a shorter time-frame than initially anticipated. Murray Goulburn is anxiously awaiting approval for its A$530 million bid as it faces strong competition from Canada's Saputo Inc, which has the only unconditional offer on the table.Saputo in December sweetened its A$515 million ($461 million) offer for Warrnambool, increasing the value with incremental acceptance levels. It will rise as high as A$549 million ($492 million) if it receives acceptances of 90 percent or more of Warrnambool shareholders.At stake is a platform for rapidly growing sales of both traditional dairy products and high-tech milk extracts into China.Saputo, which has the backing of Warrnambool's board, said on Dec. 24 it had acceptances worth 17.9 percent of Australia's oldest dairy company. Analysts said it is likely to be speaking with former bidding rival Bega Cheese Ltd, which pulled out of the race in December, and Japanese beverage giant Kirin Holdings Co Ltd.

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 0.43% or $0.21/share to $48.65. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $46.01 and as high as $54.62. On average, 286719 shares of SAP.TO exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 146129.