The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Kirin takes over Lion Nathan, Coopers hangs up “not for sale” sign

Image - KirinLion Nathan, the largest brewer in Australasia, has been acquired by global drinks company Kirin Holdings. Shareholders approved the takeover which also had to gain approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office and Federal Court of Australia. The purchase price was reported at AUS$3.3 billion (NZ$3.65 billion). Lion Nathan is expected to make a net profits of around AUS$310 million (NZ$343 million) for the year.

In response, Coopers Brewery changed their company constitution to make it harder for another company to take it over. The family owned South Australian brewery is now Australia’s largest locally owned brewery even though it has just five percent of the $7 billion Aussie beer market. Cooper’s was the target of a sustained but ultimately unsuccessful takeover bid from Lion in 2005.

Cooper’s 143 shareholders, 90 percent of who are linked by birth or marriage to the brewery’s 19th century founder, Thomas Cooper, voted for a technical but significant change in the constitution which effectively puts out the “not for sale” sign. The Adelaide brewery says it now has “belts and braces” protection for its 150 year old independent status.

Coopers makes a popular range of bottle-conditioned ales which are sold around New Zealand.