Murray Goulburn to sell Warrnambool stake

Australia’s largest dairy company, Murray Goulburn Co-operative, has announced it will withdraw its failed takeover bid for rival Warrnambool Cheese and Butter.

The five-month battle for Warrnambool culminated in Canadian company, Saputo, announcing on Wednesday that it had successfully acquired over 50 per cent of WCB’s shares.

Murray Goulburn now says it intends to seek ASIC consent to withdraw its WCB bid and will sell its 17.7 per cent share in the Victorian company.

By selling its shares, MG will take the acceptances for the Saputo bid past 75 per cent, triggering at least a $9.40 per share price.

Murray Goulburn will make $92.9 million from the sale of its shares.

The company was still waiting for approval from the Australian Competition Tribunal for its bid for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, so that application will now be withdrawn.

The Saputo takeover already has approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Murray Goulburn’s Managing Director Gary Helou says it is a “lost opportunity” for the Australian dairy industry that Saputo’s acquisition was approved much more quickly than the process MG was required to follow.

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