Saputo lifts WCB holding again

Canadian dairy giant edges even closer to winning takeover battle for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory.

Canadian dairy giant Saputo has further increased its stake in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd, edging closer to winning a three-month takeover battle.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, WCB said Saputo's voting power had lifted to 47.85%, compared with 46.17% earlier.

Saputo's takeover offer closes at 1900 AEDT tomorrow but if it can secure a stake greater than 50%, the offer will be automatically extended for another two weeks.

The Canadian group's offer of $9.00 per WCB share includes the offer of an increase to $9.20 if it obtains more than 50% of the shares.

The bid will rise to $9.40 if it attains a 75% holding and $9.60 if it hits 90%.

Saputo is vying with Murray Goulburn for control of WCB. The Australian rival faces hearings in the Australian Competition Tribunal about whether its takeover would be anticompetitive.

Bega Cheese Ltd has pulled out of the bidding war, selling its shares in WCB to Saputo.

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