Bega Cheese chairman Barry Irvin

January 25, 2021

Bega Cheese Limited – owners of the Peanut Company of Australia – have confirmed its acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drinks is now complete.

Bega announced in November it had agreed to buy the dairy and drinks assets of Lion for $534 million.

Lion Dairy & Drinks manufactures, markets, distributes and sells some of Australia’s best-known dairy brands.

Its core business is milk-based beverages, yoghurt, chilled juices, cream and custard, and white milk.

Lion Dairy also owns Australia’s largest national cold chain distribution network supplying food service and convenience stores.

In a statement to the ASX on Monday, Bega chairman Barry Irvin said it was a significant day in the history of the company.

“The acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drinks doubles the size of the company with revenue of $3 billion and brings together great brands including Bega Cheese, Vegemite, Dare, Farmers Union, Dairy Farmers, Yoplait, B honey, Big M, Masters, Juice Brothers and Berri,” he said.

“This goal of creating a great Australian food company with the capacity to service our customers in Australia and around the world took a major step forward today.”

In 2019 Lion – which is owned by the Japanese brewer Kirin – tried to sell its Dairy & Drinks business to China Mengniu Dairy for $600 million.

The Foreign Investment Review Board approved the sale but the deal collapsed after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the investment would be “contrary to the national interest”.

Lion maintains a large portfolio of beer brands in Australia, including XXXX, Tooheys and West End.

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