PE out of running for Foster’s wine business – for now

At the company’s annual general meeting, its chairman told reporters the company was not currently in talks with any private equity firm about the sale of Treasury Wine Estates, but would consider ‘any offers if they are made’.

Beverage conglomerate Foster’s is no longer in talks with the international private equity firm which made an A2.7 billion offer to buy the wine-making arm of its business, Treasury Wine Estates, in September, David Crawford, chairman of the Southbank, Victoria-based company told reporters Tuesday.
Neither had the company held talks with any other private equity firm regarding a potential purchase, Crawford, who was speaking after the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, was reported by Reuters to have added. 
However, addressing the AGM, he said the company would consider any further proposals for the business.
“We have said from the day we announced the proposal to consider a demerger that we were still prepared to consider all possibilities, and that includes consideration of any offers if they are made,” Crawford told the annual general meeting,” he stated, according to Reuters.
Foster’s first proposed the demerging of its wine and beer businesses in May this year. In a statement released after the AGM on Tuesday, Crawford stated the decision was “still subject to completion of a detailed evaluation of the issues, costs and benefits to Foster’s shareholders, and an ongoing assessment of prevailing economic and capital market conditions”.
However, he added, subject to further due diligence and shareholder approval, the demerger could place in H1 2011.
Last month, Foster’s rejected an offer for Treasury Wine Estates from an international private equity firm, later known to be US firm Cerberus Capital. The company said the bid, reportedly in the region of up to A$2.7 billion, “significantly undervalued” the business. 
Following that, it was reported that global firms KKR and TPG were also considering putting together an offer for the company, either together or separately.
Foster’s wine portfolio includes brands such as Beringer, Penfolds, Lindemans, Wolf Blass and Rosemount.