23 Apr 2009

Takeover offer made for Lion Nathan

9:51 pm on 23 April 2009

Alcoholic beverages company Lion Nathan has been approached by its largest shareholder, Japanese beer-maker Kirin Holdings, to buy the remaining stock in the company.

Lion Nathan is based in Australia where it employs more than 1800 workers and has operations in New Zealand, employing more than 1400, according to its website.

Its beer brands include Heineken, XXXX, Tooheys and Beck's.

The company is listed on the Australian and New Zealand sharemarkets.

Kirin already holds 46.13% of Lion Nathan and owns Australian food, juice and dairy products group National Foods.

Lion Nathan on Thursday requested a trading halt in its shares while it holds confidential talks with Kirin.

The talks follow Kirin's approach after the close of trade on Wednesday with an indicative, non-binding, conditional and confidential proposal to buy Lion Nathan's remaining shares.

Lion Nathan said it would establish an independent board committee to clarify the details of the Kirin offer on behalf of the remaining shareholders.

The trading halt will remain in place until an announcement is made, or April 27.

Kirin is looking to develop its presence in the Australasian region and diversify its earnings, with the objective of generating 30% of sales offshore by 2015.

Lion Nathan has a market value of $5.7 billion based on Wednesday's closing share price.