Fonterra hires Everett to advise on Oz dairy

As 10 per cent of takeover target Warrnambool Cheese and Butter is snapped up, the NZ dairy giant has hired Everett to be its eyes and ears in Australia.

Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy company, has hired Mike Everett, the former head of capital markets in Australia Goldman Sachs Group Inc, to analyse and advise it on what to do if there are mergers and acquisitions in the Australian dairy industry.

Everett, who has his own firm Reunion Capital Partners, is unlikely to advise Fonterra on any potential takeovers as his one person firm lacks a team that can crunch numbers during a takeover battle. If Fonterra wanted to launch a takeover for an Australian dairy company, it would probably have hired Everett’s old firm Goldman Sachs or another bulge bracket firm.

Still, Everett, who worked for 11 years at Goldman, has won Fonterra’s trust. Everett’s hiring is the first significant mandate he has got since leaving the Wall Street bank and setting up his own boutique this year.

“Fonterra has appointed Mike Everett from Reunion Capital Partners to advise Fonterra during the course of the current corporate activity in the dairy sector,” Fonterra says in an emailed statement to DataRoom.

Everett will be focused on giving Fonterra advice on the potential outcome of the three way takeover battle for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Ltd and what a takeover of it may mean for the world’s biggest dairy cooperative.

Fonterra, along with Warrnambool and Murray Goulburn Co-operative Ltd, which is trying to acquire Warrnambool, is one of the three current milk buyers for dairy farmers in the western Victorian region. At 1501 AEDT Warrnambool’s stock was up 79 cents, or 9.5 per cent, to $9.15. The shares have more than doubled since the beginning of September.

As much as 10 per cent of Warrnambool’s shares have been bought on the stock market by an unknown buyer on Tuesday. Speculation has centered on Lion, a unit of Kirin Holdings Ltd. Lion declined comment.

Dairy Farmers said earlier this year that National Foods, a unit of Kirin, and Fonterra had been working on a possible joint bid for it. 

“Fonterra does not comment on merger and acquisition discussions (and) will comply with all regulations with respect to any required announcements if and when transactions are agreed,” the company told DataRoom.

Warrnambool is being advised by CIMB and Murray Goulburn by Lazard Ltd.

Canada's Saputo Inc, which currently has the highest bid for Warrnambool at $8 a share and is supported by the Warrnambool board, is being advised by Rabobank and Rothschild.

Bega Cheese Ltd, which launched the latest takeover battle for Warrnambool, is being advised by Kidder Williams.

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