Coopers Brewery was dealt a double blow today (11 October) in its fight to remain independent. The family-run South Australian brewer is fighting off a takeover attempt by Lion Nathan, which today won a legal case in the Federal Court of Melbourne and claimed it had support for its offer from shareholders with an 11% interest in Coopers.

The Federal Court in Melbourne has granted an injunction preventing Coopers Brewery from holding an extraordinary general meeting aimed at removing Lion Nathan's pre-emptive rights to Coopers' shares.

The decision is a significant victory for Lion Nathan, which launched a hostile takeover bid for Coopers last month.

Coopers' constitution currently allows Lion Nathan to acquire company shares that have been put up for sale and not subsequently purchased by either existing shareholders or Coopers' superannuation fund manager, AMP. Coopers had hoped the EGM would vote to cancel those rights.

However, Lion Nathan argued in court that Coopers shareholders did not have enough information available to them to make an informed decision, a point of view Federal Court Justice Alan Goldberg today agreed with.

However, Justice Goldberg added that if Coopers presented a more comprehensive explanatory memorandum to shareholders, the meeting could proceed.

Lion Nathan chief executive Rob Murray said the decision was a vindication of his company's pursuit of all avenues to protect the rights of Coopers' shareholders to properly consider the takeover bid.

In a bidders statement released today, Lion Nathan also said that it had gained support from shareholders with interests in about 11% of Coopers Brewery.

Lion Nathan said it had entered into pre-bid arrangements, or acquired through a subsidiary company, some or all of the shares held by 11 Coopers shareholders.

"These shareholders have or claim an interest in 10.7% of the total share capital in Coopers," the company said in its bidder's statement.

It added: "Lion Nathan has also received expressions of interest from a number of other Coopers shareholders."