The $256 million takeover bid for Western Australia's boutique Little World Beverages by a Japanese company has almost cleared the regulations gauntlet after an appearance in the Federal Court today.
The sale of LWB, owner of Fremantle's iconic ale house Little Creatures, has received preliminary approval from the Federal Court for a bid that has valued the 12-year-old company at $380 million.
Lion, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese Brewer Kirin, made a cash bid of $5.30 for all outstanding shares in LWB through its subsidiary Anglo-Gaelic Investments, in June.
The company already held a 36 per cent stake in LWB.
The scheme booklet approved by the court today included an independent report by Ernst & Young backing the deal as in the best interests of LWB shareholders.
LWB has also received approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and has had no indication from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that it intends to interfere, a LWB spokesman said.
Meanwhile, earlier this week LWB revealed a 22 per cent increase in revenue on last year, collecting $85.8 million and clearing a net profit after tax of $11.6 million, a 26.5 per cent year-on-year increase.
As well as the Fremantle brewery, Little World Beverages also owns a brewery in Healesville, Victoria and has started construction of a third brewery in Geelong, which is expected to go into the commissioning phase early next year.
LWB's shareholders are expected to vote on the takeover, which has been backed by the company's non-Lion directors on September 17 in Perth.
The LWB deal would still require final approval from the Federal Court.