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Saputo extends Warrnambool offer

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Canadian dairy giant Saputo has extended its takeover offer for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter and is urging Warrnambool shareholders who have not accepted its offer to do so immediately.

Saputo said on Friday that it has extended its offer until 1900 AEDT on January 22, 2014.

Saputo’s bid for Warrnambool had been due to expire at 1900 AEDT on Friday, January 10.

“Other than where required under the Corporations Act 2001, there will be no further extensions to the offer period,” Saputo said in a statement.

Saputo, which recently became Warrnambool’s biggest shareholder, said its holding in Warrnambool had increased to 21.39 per cent, from 20.14 per cent.

“Many shareholders have already accepted the offer, including all of the Warmambool directors,” Saputo said.

“The time has come for remaining shareholders to take action immediately and accept Saputo’s offer.”

Saputo is offering an unconditional $9.00 per Warrnambool share, but that price can increase to as much as $9.60 if Saputo attains various share thresholds in WCB at and above 50 per cent.

Saputo’s offer is final.

Saputo is vying with Australian dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn for control of Warrnambool.

Murray Goulburn’s bid of $9.50 is conditional upon it obtaining more than 50 per cent of Warrnambool shares.

Murray Goulburn’s offer is subject to no objection by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) or the granting of authorisation by the Australian Competition Tribunal.

Murray Goulburn has a 17.7 per cent stake in Warrnambool.

Bega Cheese, which initiated the takeover battle for Warrnambool but pulled out of the contest when its bid lapsed on December 20, holds 18.8 per cent of Warrnambool.

Japanese-controlled food and beverages company Lion has about 10 per cent.

Shares in Warrnambool were five cents higher at $9.20 in early trade.

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