WCB bids inch forward

LATEST: THE bids by Murray Goulburn and Saputo to take over Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (WCB) inched forward today.

Both companies made declarations to the Australian Securities Exchange in regard to their bids.

Canadian company Saputo has increased its holding from 16.9 to 17.9 per cent of the WCB register, giving it just over 10 million shares.

The company is offering $9 per share, increasing incrementally to $9.60 if it gains certain levels of ownership.

Murray Goulburn announced acceptances of its $9.50 offer amounting to 225,000 shares. These would take its holding to 17.7 per cent providing the co-operative gets the clearance from the Australian Competition Tribunal to pursue its takeover.

Saputo's offer is final and will close on January 10.

Murray Goulburn shareholders started receiving copies of their acceptance forms this week. The offer is conditional on Murray Goulburn gaining a controlling stake of more than 50 per cent.

The third bidder, Bega Cheese, bowed out of the takeover battle when its bid closed on Friday. It owns about 19 per cent holding.

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