Saputo confirms control of WCB

Canadian dairy giant announces to market it has increased stake past 50%.

Canadian dairy giant Saputo has confirmed to the market that it has won control of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd, as earlier reported by Business Spectator's DataRoom.

Investors responded well to the news, sending WCB shares 1.5% higher to $9.45 at 1105 AEDT, against a benchmark index fall of 0.26%.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Saputo said its voting power in WCB was now 52.702%, up from 47.85%.

As Saputo has passed the 50 per cent threshold, its takeover offer will be extended for another two weeks and its consideration will increase from $9 per share to $9.20 per share, valuing the offer at $514.9 million.

The takeover bid will rise to $9.40 if Saputo attains a 75% holding, which would value the offer at $526.1 million.

If Saputo reaches a 90% holding, its offer will rise to $9.60 per share or $537.3 million.

In a statement, rival bidder Murray Goulburn Co-operative said it would "commercially assess" the implications of the developments, including in relation to its 17.7% shareholding in WCB.

Murray Goulburn said it would not make any further media statements "until such time as a decision has been made and relevant stakeholders advised".

Bega Cheese Ltd had also been in the running for WCB, but earlier quit the race and sold its stake in the target to Saputo.

WCB shares last closed at $9.31 and the company has a market capitalisation of $521.1 million.

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