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China Mengniu Dairy's $600 million purchase of Australia's Kirin's Lion Dairy and Drinks abandoned amid trade tensions

Vanguard One

Dec 20, 2019
Iconic Aussie drinks such as Dare, Farmers Union Iced Coffee and Daily Juice will not be sold to China after a $600m deal was shot down.
The deal to sell beverage producer Lion Dairy and Drinks to a Chinese company was abandoned after the plan failed to win the approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board.
China Mengniu Dairy announced plans to purchase Lion from Japanese owners Kirin last November, and the deal was given the all clear by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in February.

Dare, Farmers Union Iced Coffee and Daily Juice will not be sold to China after a $600m deal was shot down. (Facebook)

At the time the ACCC said the deal would not substantially lessen competition in the Gippsland region, where Mengniu already has a presence due to a partial ownership of Burra Foods.

But Kirin yesterday released a statement saying the sale was off.

"Lion notes that China Mengniu Dairy Company Limited has been awaiting the outcome of the Foreign Investment Review Board of its proposed purchase of Lion Dairy and Drinks," the statement reads. "Given this approval is unlikely to be forthcoming at this time, Lion and Mengniu Dairy have mutually agreed to cease the current sale process.

"We are disappointed with this outcome and will now consider pathways for in relation to the Lion Dairy and Drinks business."

The line-up of Lion's Dairy and Drinks brands. (Lion Dairy & Drinks)

The Lion brands in the dairy and drinks division include Dairy Farmers, Masters and Pura milk, Dare and Farmers Union iced coffee, Big M, Vitasoy soy milk and coconut milk and juice brands Daily Juice, The Juice Brothers and Berri.

The Australian Financial Review last week reported Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had decided to not give the Lion deal the go ahead.

A source told the paper "diplomatic issues" were at play with the halt of the Mengniu deal and with other foreign takeover deals.


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