Australia’s Bega Cheese has reportedly emerged as the buyer of the local dairy and beverages business of Japan’s Kirin Holdings – Lion Dairy & Drinks – with an announcement of the deal imminent, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

The paper said the transaction price to be paid by the Australian food manufacturer is estimated at JPY40bn (US$385.3m).

Last week, The Australian Financial Review reported BEGA, one of Australia’s major dairy suppliers and home to the Vegemite spreads brand, was vying with investment firm Tanarra Capital to acquire Lion Dairy & Drinks. The paper also said Saputo, the Canadian dairy giant, was no longer in the running for the business.

Kirin reportedly restarted efforts to offload Lion Dairy & Drinks in September after a move to sell the business to China Mengniu Dairy Co. hit the buffers earlier this year.

Kirin and Mengniu agreed to scrap a deal they had agreed for Lion & Dairy Drinks last November. The proposed transaction had been given the green light by Australia’s competition regulator in February. However, amid increasingly strained relations between China and Australia, Kirin said in late August approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board was “unlikely to be forthcoming at this time”. 

just-food has asked both Kirin and Bega for comment on the Nikkei report. A response from the Japanese firm had not been received at the time of writing while Bega referred this publication to its announcement of a trading halt in its shares today.