Foster's Group said today that its offer to buy the winemaker Southcorp had become unconditional, following it gaining voting power in Southcorp of 50.9%.

Foster's launched its bid in January after acquiring an initial 18.8% stake in Southcorp from the Oatley family, the founders of the Rosemount brand.

Since raising its bid last month to A$4.26, and in doing so winning support from the majority of the Southcorp board, Foster's has slowly increased its control of the company.

In a statement today, Foster's said that its wholly-owned subsidiary Beringer Blass Wines Pty Ltd (BBW) has freed its takeover offer for Southcorp from the 90% condition contained in its bidder's statement and, accordingly, declares that the offer is now unconditional.

The offer is scheduled to close at 5pm (Melbourne time) on Thursday 26 May.