Italy gives go-ahead for French firm's takeover of Parmalat

13th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Italy's market regulator on Friday gave its go-ahead for a takeover of Parmalat dairy company by it French rival Lactalis, following weeks of tensions over the proposed 3.4-billion-euro deal.

The public offer to purchase Parmalat shares will take place between May 23 and July 8, the Consob agency said in a statement.

Lactalis said: "Consob on May 13 2011 approved the offer document."

Lactalis has already bought a 29-percent stake in Parmalat in a move that raised nationalist opposition in Italy.

The French giant announced its $4.9-billion offer on April 26 on the same day that French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Italy for a summit with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi dominated by thorny business and immigration issues.

Italian investors had tried to team up to buy Parmalat before Lactalis made its offer. Parmalat has still not officially responded to the offer and has hired Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs to examine its terms.

Lactalis, already the world's top cheese producer, said it was offering 2.60 euros per share -- 21.3 percent more than the average over the past 12 months.

Lactalis and Parmalat together would create the world's top dairy company.

© 2011 AFP

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