(Reuters) – A subsidiary of Europe’s biggest dairy group Lactalis has raised its offer for Egypt’s Arab Dairy to 60.5 Egyptian pounds ($8.43) per share, topping a rival bid from Pioneers Holding as a takeover battle heats up.
The revised bid values Arab Dairy at 363 million Egyptian pounds ($50.5 million) against $49.68 million for the latest Pioneer offer.
Egypt’s market regulator said in a statement it had accepted the new bid from the Lactalis subsidiary, called Al-Nour for Dairy Industries, and had extended the deadline for new bids to Feb. 1 from Jan. 22.
Pioneers, a financial firm that already owns 25 percent of Arab Dairy, increased its offer for the company to 59.20 pounds per share last week, topping the previous offer of 58 pounds from Lactalis.
Pioneers originally bid 56 pounds a share for the Egyptian cheesemaker in August but has been forced to increase its offer price after a slew of rivals entered the fray.
The battle for control of Arab Dairy is part of a recent flurry of activity on Egypt’s stock exchange, signalling resurgent interest from international investors in a market looking to restore confidence after the turmoil unleashed by a 2011 uprising which ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.
U.S. group Kellogg, the world’s largest breakfast cereal maker, this week won a prolonged takeover battle for Egyptian snackmaker Bisco Misr. (Reporting by Lin Noueihed; editing by Vincent Baby)