The privately-owned Swiss company, Hess Group, has raised the offer price in its takeover bid for the Australian wine company, Peter Lehmann Wines (PLW), to A$3.85 per share, matching the counter-bid tabled yesterday by the UK-based wines and spirits group, Allied Domecq.

Hess has also waived all the previous conditions pertaining to its original offer including its 35% minimum acceptance condition. The Swiss group had originally offered A$3.50 per share.

Referring to its increased offer, Hess said: "This course of action would provide Peter Lehmann shareholders with a continuing investment in what has been a very successful company to date."

While the improved offer matches Allied's principal bid, the UK group has said that it will raise the price to A$4.00 per share if it secures acceptances for at least 90% of the shares.