Lion Nathan has upped its bid for takeover target Coopers Brewery.

The Australian beer and wine company today (21 November) increased its offer for the family-run brewer by 20% to A$310 per share from A$260. The fresh offer values Coopers at A$420m (US$307m).

Under the new offer, Coopers shareholders will be able to keep a final dividend of A$3 a share, taking the new bid to A$313 a share.

Lion CEO Rob Murray said the company had decided to up its bid after studying Coopers'  latest full-year results and the brewer's forecast for the year ahead.

"This has enabled us to make this very attractive revised offer to all Coopers shareholders which we expect will be unanimously recommended by the Coopers board," he added.

Lion has urged Coopers shareholders to vote against any resolution at the brewer's EGM on November 29 that proposes to remove Lion's rights from Coopers' articles. Lion also wants investors to withdraw the proposed share buy-back at A$260 per share for up to 15% of the company's issued capital.

"We consider that it is now very clear that both the proposed resolution to remove Lion's rights from Coopers' articles and the proposed share buy-back are not in the best interests of Coopers shareholders and we would expect the board of Coopers and especially the independent director to take all necessary steps to ensure that its shareholders are given the opportunity to receive and accept Lion's attractive and demonstrably fair offer," Murray added.

The raised bid falls within the A$284 to A$320 a share valuation range included in an independent experts' report commissioned by Coopers.

Coopers MD Tim Cooper today told Reuters: "I think Rob Murray's expectation that the Coopers board must now recommend the offer is disingenuous in the extreme. Lion has also not said that its offer is final."

Seperately, two Coopers shareholders have said that they will vote against Coopers' resolution at the meeting next week. Richard Cooper, the cousin of director Bill Cooper, and Drew Crossland have complained that they feel poorly treated by the Coopers board, and have suggested that, without the Lion takeover offer, Coopers would still be treating its shareholders badly and ignoring their pleas for a higher share of the profits.

"Quite frankly, the dividends have been rubbish," Crossland told local reporters.

Coopers is an unlisted public company, and has 117 shareholders.