$1.3bn Murray Goulburn sale to Saputo cleared by shareholders and ACCC
Dairy giant Murray Goulburn (MG) has taken a big stride towards its acquisition by Canada’s Saputo after the deal was cleared by Australia’s competition watchdog and MG shareholders.
Shareholders of the 70-year cooperative voted 96% in favour of the $1.3bn takeover at a meeting in Melbourne.
Meanwhile the move was also cleared by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking from Saputo to divest Murray Goulburn’s Koroit plant.
- Saputo eyes Victorian dairy plant sale to proceed with Murray Goulburn acquisition
- Murray Goulburn agrees sale to Canada’s Saputo for US$1.29bn
- Read the latest edition of ANZ’s Business Chief magazine
Murray Goulburn and Saputo, which owns Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, both acquire milk from farmers in southwest Victoria and southeast South Australia, including in areas around Warrnambool and Mt Gambier.
The ACCC had raised concerns that Saputo owning the region’s two largest plants, both near Warrnambool, its current Allansford plant and Murray Goulburn’s Koroit plant, would have substantially lessened competition for the purchase of raw milk in the region, leading to farmers being paid less at least in the medium term.
However, these concerns now appear to be satisfied. “Saputo’s divestiture undertaking has remedied the ACCC’s competition concerns about the Koroit plant,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“We heard from and spoke with many farmers who expressed concerns with the ACCC intervening in this transaction in the short term because they wanted certainty and stability after a bumpy ride with Murray Goulburn.
“I want to assure them that our aim is to put in place an outcome that works in their best interest by promoting competition in the medium to longer term while minimising short term uncertainty.”
The sale will financially rescue MG, owner of the Devondale milk and cheese brand, after its foray into the Asian market backfired, leaving it with significant debt after the sales that it had hoped for never materialised in a significant way.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.