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AUS: Watchdog seeks more on Coopers battle

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Australia's competition watchdog wants more information on whether Lion Nathan's takeover bid for Coopers Brewery would remove a key competitor and hit distribution in the beer industry.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it wanted more details on the impact of the proposed takeover by November 25. The ACCC plans to announce a decision on Lion's bid in December.

The ACCC said initial inquiries had suggested that a takeover of Coopers would create a barrier to entry into the Australian beer industry as the acquisition would remove an independent distributor from the market.

It said its findings had also suggested that Coopers had an influence on how Lion priced its brands, while the company also shaped product innovation and marketing across the industry.

"Market inquiries suggested that Lion Nathan was seeking to acquire Coopers to neutralise a growing and potentially significant brewer," the ACCC added.

Lion has launched a bid for Coopers worth A$260 (US$189.55) a share, which values the independent brewer at A$352. Coopers has urged its shareholders to reject the offer, arguing that the bid should be raised to at least A$360 a share.


Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Lion Nathan

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