Saputo says it has acquired 3.7% stake thus far in Australian dairy company Warrnambool Cheese and Butter after increasing its takeover bid for WCB to AU$9.20/share

MELBOURNE, Australia , November 27, 2013 () – CANADIAN dairy giant Saputo says it has so far acquired 3.7 per cent of the shares in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter after increasing its takeover bid on Monday.

Saputo has offered $9 cash for each Warrnambool share, plus an extra 20c per share if the company gains a stake of more than 50 per cent in the company.

Saputo’s latest offer puts it ahead of rival suitors Murray Goulburn and Bega Cheese in the three-way takeover tussle.

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter shares closed 0.3 per cent higher at $9.26. It came as the wider Australian sharemarket closed higher for the third straight day, driven by gains among the big banks.

At the close yesterday, the benchmark ASX 200 index was 4.5 points, or 0.1 per cent, higher at 5350.6, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 4.2 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5357.0.

CommSec market analyst Steve Daghlian said the local market was buoyed by positive news on US markets.

“Overall we had additional record highs in the US but volumes were quite light and that's been the case in Australia ahead of Thanksgiving in the US on Thursday night,” Mr Daghlian said.

Locally, the mining sector, industrial stocks and consumer discretionaries were the big losers.

Among the major banks, Westpac lifted 24c to $32.76, ANZ gained 16c to $31.95, Commonwealth Bank rose 58c to $76.85, National Australia Bank was up 30c at $34.40 as investors assessed the prospect of another Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate cut.Global miner BHP Billiton lost 9c to $37.80, Rio Tinto shed 36c to $65.04, iron ore miner Fortescue dropped 8c to $5.74 and gold miner Newcrest gave up 16c to $8.10.

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