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More than 75% of Warrnambool shares tendered to Saputo takeover offer

MONTREAL - The cost of acquiring Australia's oldest diary processor just became a bit more expensive for Saputo Inc. (TSX:SAP).

The Montreal-based cheese and dairy company says more than three-quarters of the shares of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter have now been tendered to its takeover offer.

The 75 per cent threshold triggers an automatic increase in the price per share it is paying to AU$9.40 from AU$9.20

Saputo said that as of 7 p.m. Melbourne time on Tuesday it had a relevant interest of 77.074 per cent in Warrnambool shares.

Meanwhile, since the threshold was passed and the price increased within the last seven days of the offer period, the period for tendering has now been automatically extended under Australian law until 7 p.m. Melbourne time on Feb. 12, Saputo said in a release Tuesday.

"Other than possible automatic extensions required under Australian law, there will be no further extensions," Saputo added.

Murray Goulburn Co-Operative, Saputo's main competitor for Warrnambool, threw in the towel last week after the Canadian company announced in a regulatory filing that it had acquired 57.7 per cent of the target company's shares.

Murray Goulburn said at the time that it would tender its 17.7 per cent interest to Saputo, which has agreed to boost offer to AU$9.60 per share if gets at least 90 per cent of Warrnambool stock.

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