It’s been dubbed the “Cheese War”: the race by at least three milk processors to take over Warrnambool Cheese and Butter.
The most recent bid has been from Australia’s largest processor, Murray Goulburn.
This is not the first time Murray Goulburn has given it a go. Last time, three years ago, it withdrew its offer after the ACCC gave a preliminary view that such a takeover would be anti-competitive.
So this time, Murray Goulburn is trying to bypass the ACCC by going direct to the Competition Tribunal.
Graeme Samuel was chair of the ACCC last time it made its unsuccessful bid and is now a Professorial Fellow at Monash University.
Mr Samuel says it will be a test case.
“This time round I think they must be figuring that the ACCC will adopt a similar position that it adopted last time and have decided to now adopt the direct to the tribunal authorisation route. It’s very unusual.”