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Foster's buys Beringer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Billion pound buy-out

Foster's Brewing Group is set to acquire Beringer Wine Estates in a deal worth more than 1 billion. The Australian company has tendered an offer to the Texas Pacific Group of US$55.75 per share for the Napa-based producer, which will combine with Mildara Blass to create an enlarged Foster's wine division. The deal, which involves Foster's assuming Beringer's debts of approximately 226 million, will enable the Australian company to use Beringer's American distribution network to bring Mildara Blass brands to the States, while Mildara Blass distribution networks will bring Beringer brands such as Meridian, Chateau St Jean and Stags Leap to Asia and Europe. "The addition of Beringer will increase our global reach," said Foster's ceo and president Ted Kunkel. "It creates one of the world's largest and most profitable premium wine companies and will form a powerful new growth engine for Foster's." At the time of going to press, it was unclear how the acquisition would affect the rumoured merger talks between Beringer and Kendall-Jackson. However, John Shortt, managing director for Mildara Blass in Europe, told Harpers: "It's a matter for Beringer and Kendall-Jackson, I think it's really a separate thing from the deal with Foster's." Mondavi Winery has dismissed rumours that it is up for sale. Michael Mondavi is quoted as saying: "There is no foundation in the rumour." Speculators have pinpointed Louis Vuitton Mot Hennessy as the likeliest bidder while "another Australian wine company" is also seen as a possible purchaser.