Judge rejects bid to block Lactalis offer for Parmalat

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An Italian judge rejected on Wednesday a request to halt a public offer for shares in Italian dairy giant Parmalat by its French rival Lactalis filed by two consumer groups.

The consumer groups said Lactalis' 3.4-billion-euro offer was not sufficiently transparent and violated Italian financial regulations.

But a Rome region judge said the Lactalis offer provided sufficient information for investors to decide whether or not accept the offer and sell their Parmalat shares.

However, the judge said the final decision should be taken by a full judicial panel and set a new hearing on June 8.

The Lactalis offer, which received the green light from the Italian stock market regulator last week, is to run from May 23 to July 8.

Parmalat on Tuesday rejected Lactalis' bid of 2.60 euros per share, saying its board, advised by US investment bank Goldman Sachs, "unanimously decided ... that the offer did not fully reflect" the value of the company.

Parmalat shares rose 0.46 percent on Wednesday to 2.62 euros.

© 2011 AFP

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