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Lion Nathan offers $7.6b cash for Coca-Cola Amatil

Monday 17th November 2008

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Lion Nathan, Australia's No. 2 brewing company, offered A$7.6 billion for Coca-Cola Amatil, to add the Coke bottler to its beer and wine assets and create that nation's biggest beverage producer.

Amatil said the A$10.35-per-share offer has "material deficiencies," according to a statement to the ASX. Shareholders of Amatil would get A$6.15 a share in cash and 0.469 Lion Nathan shares for each share they own. The per-share price is a 22% premium on Amatil's trading price on Friday.

Shares of Amatil soared 17% to A$9.64 on the ASX today, leading the S&P/ASX 200 Index higher on the prospects of the takeover. Lion Nathan was halted from trading after a newspaper report about the proposal.

Lion, which owns the Boag's, Tooheys and 'XXXX' brand beers, has the support of its 46% owner Kirin Brewery of Japan. Amatil, which has retained Macquarie Capital Advisers for advice, said the offer lags behind recent multiples paid for beverage companies.

The proposal comes amid a broader shake-up of Australia's beverages market. Kirin last week agreed to acquire milk co-op Dairy Farmers for A$910 million and Amatil recently missed out on buying the Frucor drinks business in Australia and New Zealand. Molson Coors Brewing of the US, meantime, this month acquired 5% of Foster's Group, Australia's biggest liquor company.

By Jonathan Underhill

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