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A2 Milk mystery bidder finally revealed

milkUS dairy giant, Dean Foods, has been unmasked as the mystery predator interested in making a tilt at New Zealand’s a2 Milk Company.

The NZ based milk company on Monday revealed that a consortium of two unnamed companies had made a non binding and conditional expression of interest in acquiring a2.

Sydney based muesli bar and cereals maker, Freedom Foods, identified itself as one of the parties within hours of the announcement, with media reports speculating that either Dean Foods, or China’s New Hope Dairy were part of the consortium.

A2 on Wednesday confirmed Dean Foods was the mystery party, saying it had decided to reveal the company’s identity following requests from the Australian Securities Exchange amid media speculation.

“The board is continuing to seek further information in order to evaluate the proposal and will update the market on further developments as appropriate,” a2 said in a statement.

“a2MC has no further comment to make at this time.”

Shares in the dual listed a2 fell two cents to close at 66.5 cents.

The stock, which listed on the Australian share market in March, soared by nearly 20 per cent on Monday when news of the potential takeover emerged.

Texas based Dean Foods, which was established in 1925, is one of the largest processors and distributors of dairy products in the US.

It’s products, including ice cream, cream, juice, teas and bottled water, are marketed under more than 50 local and regional dairy brands and private labels.

Dean Foods and Freedom, which is a2’s biggest shareholder, want to carry out an examination of a2’s books before deciding whether to make a bid for the NZ company.

Freedom currently holds a 19.14 stake in a2.

AAP

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