October 26, 2017 / 10:55 PM / 2 years ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Canada's Saputo to buy Aussie dairy firm Murray Goulburn for $488 mln

(Corrects equity value of the deal in headline and paragraph 1)

Oct 27 (Reuters) - Murray Goulburn Co-operative, Australia’s largest milk processor, on Friday said it agreed to a buyout from Canadian dairy company Saputo Inc worth up to A$637.8 million ($488 million).

Murray Goulburn (MG) said Saputo would pay between A$1.10 and A$1.15 per share, compared to its A$2.10 issue price when it listed in 2015.

A total buyout value of A$1.3 billion would include the company’s debts and liabilities.

Murray Goulburn, reeling from an ill-fated Asian expansion, said in August it was considering approaches from suitors who were interested in buying the cooperative as a whole or some of its assets.

Rival Bega Cheese Ltd on Thursday said it had pulled out of the race to buy Murray Goublurn, leaving the dairy processor to choose from a string of international investors, including Fonterra and Saputo.

“MG has reached a position where, as an independent company, its debt was simply too high given the significant milk loss,” Chairman John Spark said in Friday’s statement.

Saputo, which already owns Australia’s Warrnambool Cheese Butter, said in a statement the buyout will complement its existing Australian portfolio. It will fund the deal with a new bank loan.

$1 = 1.3057 Australian dollars Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by G Crosse and Grant McCool

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