Lion - said to have received three bids for its dairy assets

Lion - said to have received three bids for its dairy assets

The owner of Lion Dairy and Drinks has reportedly received three bids for the business including one from Canadian dairy heavyweight Saputo.

The Australian Financial Review reported Lion Dairy and Drinks' owner, Japanese drinks giant Kirin Holdings, has also received offers from Australian food group Bega Cheese and asset manager Tanarra Capital.

The Australian dairy business was put on the block by Kirin two years ago following a strategic review.

An AUD600m (US$430m then) deal with China Mengniu Dairy was agreed in November last year. However, the deal was called off by Mengniu in August amid tensions between Australia and China over trade.

The Australian Financial Review said it understood Kirin and its adviser Deutsche Bank fielded three bids for the business on Wednesday (11 November) in the decisive round of an auction to decide its future owner.

It said the trio have been in the race for some time and tabled indicative offers business in early October.

It added Kirin and its advisers are expected to go through each bid over the coming days and to seek more clarity on the offers where required, before picking a winner.

Saputo confirmed its interest in Lion's dairy arm in late October after The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission disclosed the Canadian group "proposes to acquire" Lion Dairy & Drinks. The regulator announced it was inviting interested parties to submit their views on the possible deal. This week, Saputo reaffirmed that it is keen to do more acquisitions in Australia.

Bega Cheese said in August that it would be interested in making a bid for Lion's dairy assets.