Lion Nathan has finally given up in its long-running quest to buy Australia's Coopers Brewery, according to local reports.

Lion's surrender came yesterday (16 October) when Australia's Federal Court dismissed an appeal from the Trans-Tasman group that challenged a Coopers' share buyback in 2003.

Three judges ruled that Lion should pay Coopers' legal costs for the appeal. The ruling means that Lion has lost all of the six major legal actions it started to win the right to buy Coopers, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Shareholders in the privately-owned brewer had fought a long battle to stave off Lion's interest in the company.

Lion launched a bid for Coopers as far back as last September as it looked to tap into booming demand for premium beer in Australia.

Coopers' shareholders looked to have delivered a decisive blow to Lion's hopes in December when they voted to remove Lion's pre-emptive rights to buy shares in the company.

Nevertheless, Lion continued to prolong its quest to buy the company with a series of legal appeals - all of which failed.

Coopers chairman Glenn Cooper told the paper he was pleased there were no more cases pending and that the company could focus on the "exceptional growth" the brewer had enjoyed in recent months.

The legal battle with Lion hit Coopers' profits last year but the brewer saw sales rise 14% in the 12 months to 30 June.