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Warrnambool Rises on New Takeover Bid Speculation: Sydney Mover

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co., the Australian dairy producer that’s the subject of three takeover offers, rallied to a record in Sydney trading on speculation a new bidder is preparing a proposal.

The Victoria state-based producer advanced as much as 11 percent to A$9.30, valuing the company at A$520.8 million ($496 million). That’s 16 percent more than the current highest offer of A$8 a share bid from Canada’s Saputo Inc. Warrnambool traded up 6.2 percent at A$8.88 at 2:01 p.m. local time.

A block of 1.1 million Warrnambool shares were traded at A$9.25 at 11:36 a.m. in Sydney, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A record 5.31 million shares changed hands by 1:43 p.m. local time, more than 41 times the three-month daily average.

“The speculation is that this is a new bid,” Evan Lucas, Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Ltd. said by phone.

Saputo won support from the target’s board with its higher A$8 a share offer last week, topping the A$7.50 cash proposal made from Murray Goulburn Cooperative Co. and above a cash and shares offer from Bega Cheese Ltd. Warrnambool, which makes brands including Sungold and Warrnambool Cheddar as well as supplying milk to make Philadelphia cream cheese, said it’s not aware of a reason for the share trading today.

The company “confirms that it is in compliance with its continuous disclosure obligation,” the dairy producer said today in a statement.

Bega Cheese holds 18 percent of Warrnambool and Murray Goulburn holds 17 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Stringer in Melbourne at dstringer3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net

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