Saputo raises stake in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co (WCB. A X) to 20.1 percent

Saputo raises stake in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co (WCB. A X) to 20.1 percentThe company Saputo Inc (SAP T O) of Canada said on Thursday that it has raised its stake in the take-over target of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co (WCB A X) to 20.1 percent, making it the biggest shareholder just before its offer deadline on Friday.

Saputo is competing with Local bidder Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Ltd for Australia's oldest dairy firm, eyeing a platform for quickly growing sales of both traditional dairy products and high-tech milk extracts to China.

Saputo's unconditional cash offer of A$515 million ($461 million) will move as high as A$549 million ($492 million) if it receives acceptances of 90 percent or more of Warrnambool shareholders. Saputo has not extended its offer, which is due on Friday, although analysts expect the company to extend the offer period.

Murray Goulburn, with its A$530 million ($474.96 million) offer, is waiting for a regulatory decision and said it may increase its stake in Warrnambool via market purchases.

Saputo needs to win over former bidding rival Bega Cheese Ltd (BGA A X), which pulled out of the race in December.

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