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Panel stops Lion in its tracks

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Wednesday 11th July 2001

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The Takeovers Panel has pounced on Lion Nathan (NZSE: LNN), preventing it from buying further Montana (NZSE: MON) shares.

The panel has made a restraining order on the company after considering its recent takeover offer for the winemaker.

Under the offer Lion Nathan said it would make a partial takeover for 11% of the shares at $5.50 to take its stake back over 50%, and would then offer $3.70 offer for all outstanding shares.

The panel has also quoted subsequent statements by Lion, that "Shareholders will have the opportunity to divest any remaining shares in the subsequent offer. If all shareholders, except Allied Domecq plc, accept both offers for all their shares, accepting shareholders will receive an average of no less than NZ$4.38 per share. Lion Nathan is committed to acquiring 100% of [Montana]".

The panel says it considers that the combined effect of the takeover notice and the public statements may constitute a full offer by Lion for all of the outstanding securities in Montana, structured with two different prices.

"A full offer on these terms may not comply with the Code. As a consequence, the Panel considers that Lion Nathan Enterprises Limited "may not have acted or may not be acting or may intend not to act" in compliance with the Takeovers Code," the panel says.

A meeting will be held on Monday to look at the issue.

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