UPDATE 1-Australian dairy takeover battle stirred anew with sweetened bid

Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:01pm EST
 
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* Murray Goulburn lifts offer for Warrnambool to A$9.50

* New bid trumps Saputo but analysts say not a knockout blow

* Warrnambool shares rise 1.6 percent to A$9.40.

* Bidders appeal to farmer supplier shareholders (Updates with analyst comment, details on new offer)

By Jane Wardell

SYDNEY, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Ltd piled pressure on Canada's Saputo Inc in the race for control of key Australian dairy exports with a fresh A$530 million ($480 million) cash offer on Thursday for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co.

The sweetened A$9.50 bid is unlikely to deliver a knockout blow but will put pressure on Saputo's unconditional A$9 offer, which currently has the backing of the Warrnambool board, analysts said.

At stake is control of a major exporter of both traditional dairy products and high-tech milk extracts in demand in Asia.

Both Murray Goulburn and Saputo - the more aggressive bidders in a three-way battle - are holding public meetings in rural Victoria this week, pitching their bids to farmer suppliers who hold between 30 and 40 percent of Australia's oldest dairy firm.   Continued...