AUS: Murray Goulburn's WCB bid set for February hearing
WCB seen as attractive asset for dairy processors targeting Asia
WCB said today (5 December) Australia's Competition Tribunal had "provisionally" set 10 February as the date on which it would hold the hearing into Murray Goulburn's A$9.50-a-share offer.
Murray Goulburn's bid is the highest of three on the table for WCB. However, its offer is dependent on authorisation from the Tribunal.
WCB has questioned Murray Goulburn's previous offers on the basis its suitor needs competition approval. It is still reviewing the company's latest offer, made last week.
It said there had been no indication when the Tribunal would make a decision on Murray Goulburn's bid, which could be "between three and six months" after the company filed the offer. That puts a potential decision as far back as 29 May.
The regulator has placed "interim orders" on Saputo's move for WCB after a complaint from rival bidder Murray Goulburn, the Australian dairy co-operative.
The orders mean Saputo must stop processing any acceptances for its lastest bid for WCB, which faced criticism from Murray Goulburn. The move, which could last for up to two months, gives the Panel more time to consider the offer, it said.
Last week, Saputo increased its bid for WCB to A$9.20 a share - should it attain more than 50% of the business.
Murray Goulburn challenged the offer, pointing to the withdrawal of plans to offer WCB's shareholders special dividends.
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