Sleeman Breweries Ltd., Canada's number-three beer maker, unveiled a $36.5-million cash takeover deal for Unibroue Inc., Quebec's largest micro-brewery, on Tuesday.

Based in Guelph, Ont., Sleeman is offering $5.25 a share for Unibroue. The shares of Unibroue finished at a five-year high of $5.10 on the TSX on Monday after the company's controlling shareholders said they were considering a takeover bid.

Sleeman said the takeover price includes the assumption of about $5.5 million in Unibroue debt.

Unibroue's beer brands include Blanche de Chambly, Maudite, Fin du Monde and Raftman.

André Dion, the founder and CEO of Unibroue, along with other company shareholders who own over 71 per cent of the micro-brewery, have already agreed to Sleeman's offer.

"This exciting transaction is the next step in the continued growth of Sleeman," John Sleeman, the chairman and CEO of the brewery, said.

"The acquisition of Unibroue and its premium brands will complement Sleeman's current portfolio, in addition to providing the required infrastructure to expand our presence in Quebec," he said.

Sleeman said the deal will add to its brewing capacity in Eastern Canada, and boost its 2005 operating profits by $5 million to $6 million.

The friendly takeover bid is expected to close in June 2004.

From CBC News Online