Hardy Wine Company has sold its 15.64% stake in the International Wine Investment Fund. The move came about due to compliance issues arising following the wine company's merger with Constellation in March 2003.

The sale, valued at A$20m, was processed through broker AMRO Morgans Corporate Ltd. The shares were placed with "professional and sophisticated investors" in Australia and overseas, said chief executive designate of the fund Ian Macoun.

"We understand the reasons for the sale of their holding in the Wine Fund and look forward to an ongoing co-operative relationship in the future", he said.

Hardy was the fund's largest holder after buying its stake in July 2003. Merchant bank Grant Samuel bought the stake in 1999 to protect the then-BRL Hardy from a hostile bid.