Lion Nathan ponders takeover offer by Kirin

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 23rd April 2009

Australia’s second largest alcoholic beverages group is currently discussing the merits of a takeover offer by their major shareholder.

Japan’s Kirin Holdings, which has a 46.13% stake in Lion Nathan sent details of an acquisition proposal to the brewer after the close of trade last night. Details of the exact nature of the deal are not yet known, with Lion Nathan (LNN) requesting a trading halt so that they can analyse the offer and create a dialogue with Kirin.

“This confidential approach relates to an indicative, non-binding, conditional and confidential proposal for Kirin to acquire all of the outstanding shares in LNN not currently owned by Kirin,” the Australian brewer advised in a statement. “LNN contends to establish an independent Board Committee to clarify and confirm the details of the proposal on behalf of LNN’s minority shareholders.”

Kirin Holdings, a leading brewer in Japan, has become a major player in the Australian beverage industry since the turn of the century with the purchases of dairy companies National Foods and Dairy Farmers, to go with the acquisition of a major stake in Lion Nathan in 1998. They were recently behind a bid for Coca-Cola Amatil by Lion Nathan, which failed to gain the support of Amatil and their major shareholder – The Coca-Cola Company.

An announcement by Lion Nathan is expected by Monday.