Bega buys up Lion’s Dairy & Drinks business

Kirin Holdings and Lion have announced an agreement to sell the Dairy & Drinks business to Bega Cheese for A $560 million. The sale is unconditional, including no further regulatory approvals required and is expected to be completed in early 2021.

The sale includes all the white milk, milk-based beverages (MBB), yoghurt, juice and water ice brands and assets. It also includes the Lion Dairy & Drinks International business, and Dairy & Drinks’ share of the joint ventures Vitasoy Australia Products (Vitasoy) and Capitol Chilled Foods Australia (CCFA), as well as its minority shareholding in Made by Cow. It also includes Dairy & Drinks’ licensing agreement for the Yoplait brand.

“The sale will see Bega, as an established dairy and food company with more than 120 years of heritage, well placed to drive the business forward given its deep dairy capabilities and strong commitment to iconic Australian brands and the local dairy industry,” Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said.

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward. Both Dairy & Drinks and Lion will move into the year ahead with the focus and capital to realise our growth aspirations.

The retained Lion business has a clear strategy to become a leading global, crafted adult drinks business. The completion of this sale will enable further investment behind our priority categories of core beer, craft beer and seltzer in both domestic and international markets.”

Once completed, this sale, together with the sale of the specialty cheese business to Saputo Dairy Australia for A $280 million (finalised in October 2019), will represent a full divestment of the Dairy & Drinks business.

Lion has been advised by Deutsche Bank as financial adviser, with King & Wood Mallesons as legal adviser.

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