The AFR said a shortlist of potential buyers had been taken through to the second stage ...
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The Lion portfolio includes category-leading brands King Island and Southcape cheese, Dairy Farmers and Pura Milk, Yoplait and Farmers Union yoghurt, Big M and Dare flavoured milk and Berri fruit juice.

Lion’s sale of its Australian dairy and drinks division is becoming more intricate.
The Australian Financial Review reported this week the list of buyers for the whole portfolio seemed to be narrow.
The AFR said Deutsche Bank and financial adviser Greenhill had received a large handful of indicative bids from suitors last month.
But many were interested in only part of the business.
The AFR said a shortlist of potential buyers had been taken through to the second stage but others outside of that list were still hopeful of picking up part of the portfolio.
Lion, which is 100 per cent owned by Kirin, announced the sale of the dairy and drinks business last year after a strategic review considered various options, including selling the business, selling individual assets and further restructuring.
The portfolio includes category-leading brands King Island and Southcape cheese, Dairy Farmers and Pura Milk, Yoplait and Farmers Union yoghurt, Big M and Dare flavoured milk and Berri fruit juice.
Lion chief executive Stuart Irvine said at the time it believed a sale of division in its entirety was the best option to set both Lion and the dairy and drinks division up with the capital and resources needed for future growth.
Mr Irvine said after a three-year turnaround program the division had been transformed and now had a sound platform for future growth.
However, it would require new capabilities and capital investment to more fully leverage growing consumer wellness trends.
“The sale process will focus on finding the right owner to take LDD forward and unlock its full potential,” he said.
The AFR report this week said Japanese brewer Asahi was believed to be through to the second round and was working on a bid for the whole portfolio.
ASX-listed Coca-Cola Amatil was also believed to be in the second stage of due diligence, along with partner Freedom Foods, the AFR said.
“Coca-Cola is widely seen as the strongest bidder, however, it is understood the soft drinks company has its eyes on Lion’s flavoured milk business and would be relying on Freedom to take the regular milk,” the AFR reported.
“Former Lion executive Peter West is now head of Australian beverages at Coca-Cola Amatil.”
The AFR said if Coca-Cola/Freedom deal went ahead, other players, including Saputo and Parmalat, which were not on the official second-round list, could snap up the remaining brands, including the specialty cheeses and yoghurts.
The AFR said Bega Cheese — which had earlier been working with Asahi — was believed to be out of the process.
“The unknowns are a couple of potential strategic acquirers from China including Mengniu Dairy and Inner Mongolia Fuyuan Farming Co, which owns a stake in Burra Foods,” it said.

With the future uncertain, Maine must show its support.

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