February 22, 2017 / 6:19 AM / 6 months ago

Saputo secures last slice of Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter

A delivery truck is parked at the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, located around 265 kilometers (165 miles) southwest of Melbourne November 17, 2013.Sonali Paul

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Canadian dairy company Saputo Inc (SAP.TO) on Wednesday bought out Australian firm Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co Holdings Ltd's (WCB) WCB.AX largest minority shareholder, Lion Pty Ltd, all but securing a takeover offer for the 12 percent of WCB that Saputo does not already own.

"We accepted Saputo's offer today," Lion spokeswoman Charlotte Churchill told Reuters.

Saputo raised its offer price on Tuesday to A$9.05 per share from A$8.85 and Lion, ultimately owned by Japan's Kirin Holdings Co Ltd (2503.T), sold its 10.23 percent stake in WCB at that price, Churchill said, for a total consideration of A$71.3 million ($54.8 million).

The revised price values WCB at A$697.6 million.

Saputo could not immediately be reached for comment.

Saputo acquired its majority stake in WCB in 2014, beating local rivals Murray Goulburn Ltd (MGC.AX) and Bega Cheese Ltd (BGA.AX) in one of Australia's most hotly contested takeover battles. The company had said earlier it would fund the acquisition from cash on hand.

Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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