Japanese brewer’s $1.9 billion bid for Aussie giant

Investing

Japanese company Kirin – best known in Australia for owning beer giant Lion (owner of Aussie beer brands XXXX, Hahn and Tooheys) – has made a bid to buy iconic Australian vitamins company, Blackmores for $1.88 billion.

While the deal still needs to go before shareholders and the corporate regulator, Blackmore’s board of directors is recommending shareholders accept the offer, which will see them paid a tidy $95 cash per share for a complete takeover of the ASX-listed company. News of the offer boosted Blackmore’s share price by 20% to $94.26 with market capitalisation of $1.5 billion.

The move – which will see the company move to foreign ownership for the first time in 91 years – is backed by 78-year-old Marcus Blackmore, the company’s largest shareholder and son of the founder Maurice Blackmore. Blackmore – who has had well-publicised disagreements with the company’s board — currently owns about 18% of the vitamin brand’s shares and will stand to walk away with more than $340 million from the takeover.

Kirin’s bid follows recent controversy involving the brand after Mr Blackmore declared his opposition to the proposed Voice to Parliament. Publicly pledging his support for Northern Territory senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s ‘vote no’ campaign, he said she knew more about indigenous issues than he did. Social media erupted with the hashtag #Boycottblackmores as a result.

Vitamins are a crucial element of the health and wellbeing industry | Image: Getty Images

Kirin president and CEO Yoshinori Isozaki said in a statement that the purchase of Blackmores “presents an exciting opportunity to transform the scale and reach of our Health Science domain”.

“Kirin Group is working to create social value and economic value by solving social issues through our business activities, and we have been transforming our business from a brewing business to a business model creating value across Food & Beverages and Pharmaceuticals domains, based on the concept of Creating Shared Value.”


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