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Brewer Lion to take over Little Creatures
Another Australian brewing company is to be bought out by foreign interests, with Lion to acquire the maker of Little Creatures.
The Japanese-controlled Lion, formerly Lion Nathan, owns 36 per cent of Little World Beverages and has offered to buy full control in a deal that values the craft brewer at $381.6 million.
Little World Beverages, the maker of Little Creatures and White Rabbit beers and Pipsqueak cider, has recommended its shareholders accept the bid.
A vote on the deal is expected to be held in October.
The takeover will further reduce the number of Australian-owned brewers, after Foster's was bought by Anglo-South African brewer SABMiller in 2011.
Lion is headquartered in Sydney and brews Tooheys, XXXX and James Boag's but was taken over by Japanese brewer Kirin in 2009.
According to research by analysts at IBISWorld, Little World Beverages is the second largest locally-owned brewer behind Cooper's.
It began in Fremantle in 2000 and expanded into Victoria in 2009 with the White Rabbit brewery in Healesville.
The company is building a new brewery in Geelong to support the growing demand for its beers on the east coast.
Lion said it had a strong track record of supporting craft breweries, with the likes of James Squire and Knappstein already under its control.
"We believe there is now a fantastic opportunity through Lion's scale distribution system to get these great brands to more beer lovers, while respecting the craft-brewing ethos of the Little World Beverages brands, breweries and hospitality venues," Lion chief executive Rob Murray said in a statement.
Little World Beverages shares soared on the takeover news, up $1.37, or 36 per cent, at $5.16
Jun 18, 2012
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