Saputo extends Warrnambool offer until January 22

Saputo extends Warrnambool offer until January 22For Victorian dairyman Nick Reynard, the notion that Australian farms should be Australian-owned didn't carry much weight and he decided Canadian ownership would be best for local processor Warrnambool Cheese and Butter.

Mr Reynard is also included among the one-fifth of Warrnambool shareholders who have accepted Canadian dairy giant Saputo's offer of $9 - and potentially $9.60 - a share as the foreign firm battles it out with Australian co-op Murray Goulburn for control.

Just the control of 900 million litres of milk that Warrnambool turns into cheese, butter and exports such as milk powder is not at stake but the battle is also about the future of Australia's dairy industry, which so far has failed to capitalise on enormous new markets emerging in Asia.

Saputo has gained the upper hand, on Friday it announced that its offer will be extended until January 22 and that it now holds 21.39 per cent of Warrnambool shares, an increase from around five per cent in November.

Right now Saputo is the largest Warrnambool shareholder, ahead of Murray Goulburn's 17.7 per cent and Bega Cheese, a former bidder in the contest and still a holder of 18.8 per cent of the stock.