Major Irish milk processor Glanbia has formally pulled out of talks to merge with rival LacPatrick Dairies.

In a statement issued last night, a spokesman for Glanbia said it would no longer be a part of the negotiation process.

He said: "Glanbia Ireland can confirm that having considered the LacPatrick opportunity alongside our current strategic priorities, we have decided not to progress any further in the process as they seek a new partnership, joint venture or merger.

"We wish them every success for the future."

The spokesman declined to comment further on why the decision had been made.

Yesterday, AgriLand revealed that a multi-billion dollar Japanese corporation had been eyeing up the Irish processor and its 600 million litre milk pool.

Other firms which have expressed an interest in striking a deal include Dale Farm, Lakeland and Aurivo.

How Did It Start?

The bidding process began following a meeting of the board of LacPatrick Dairies on Tuesday, April 17, when the firm issued a statement in which it said it was “pursuing a number of strategic options”.

The move came following uncertainty after successive milk price cuts over the spring period which left the Monaghan-based co-op behind its near neighbours.

Since then, the likes of Glanbia, Lakeland Dairies, Aurvio and Dale Farm have all publicly, or privately, expressed an interest in partnering with LacPatrick.