The Evans & Tate board of directors has opted to take more time to mull over a takeover bid from US-listed Australian wine group Yarraman Winery.

Evans & Tate's board met on Boxing Day (26 December) to look at Yarraman's offer, which values the West Australia-based wine group at around A$131m (US$103.3m).

"The board notes that it is not bound by the Yarraman offer, and intends to fully consider and evaluate the offer and provide its view of the offer in due course," Evans & Tate said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday (27 December).

"The board has neither approved nor dismissed the offer," Evans & Tate added.

Yarraman has offered Evans & Tate investors one share in the company for every nine shares. Yarraman has also offered to refinance Evans & Tate's debts, which stand at around A$90m.

Yarraman has asked Evans & Tate to make a decision on its proposal by 16 January. The company said it "welcomes" Evans & Tate's move to further evaluate the offer.

It said: "Yarraman welcomes this comment and the commitment by the Evans & Tate board to review the offer in a diligent and timely manner.

"The board of Yarraman believes that at the completion of this review it will be determined that the offer from Yarraman Winery remains a very good offer for all Evans & Tate security holders and the merged combined company in the future."

Yarraman, which is listed on the NASDAQ but has vineyards in Australia's Upper Hunter valley, made a full bid for Evans & Tate last week after snapping up a 19.9% stake in the West Australian wine group.

Yarraman CEO Wayne Rockall told just-drinks he is hopeful an acquisition of Evans & Tate would be "the first of several" the company makes throughout New World wine territories.