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AUS: Lion Nathan, Coopers battle rumbles on

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Shares in takeover target Coopers Brewery could be a lot lower than the amount offered by bidder Lion Nathan, according to Lion's legal team. In the Federal Court of Australia today (5 October), legal counsel for Lion Nathan claimed that the offer of A$260 per share represents a healthy mark-up on how much they could actually be worth. The two sides are in court arguing over the calling of an emergency general meeting at Coopers for 20 October, which Lion is trying to block.

Under a method used by KPMG in 2003, Lion Nathan's representatives said, the shares would be valued at A$90.66 each if this method were applied to Cooper's financial results for this year. If a market valuation were applied to the shares, using the same multiple that market analysts would use, then they would be worth A$203.79 each, counsel said.

Neil Young, QC, Lion Nathan's legal counsel, presented the figures as an example of the type of information that should be made available to Coopers' shareholders prior to supporting or rejecting the resolution to remove Lion Nathan's pre-emptive rights to buy Coopers' shares.

Coopers' lawyer, Dick Whitington, QC, claimed that there were regulatory impediments stopping Coopers from making valuations at this stage, although if Coopers shareholders voted for the resolution, the Lion Nathan offer, on its current terms, could not proceed.

Whitington added that if shareholders want Lion Nathan's bid to proceed, then they could vote against the resolution and be provided with more financial information as the bidder's and target's statements are released.

The judge's decision in the case is expected at the end of this week.


Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Lion Nathan

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