KWV Limited shares today reached a record trading mark as the latest manoeuvre in the battle for control of the group enters yet another phase.

An offer of R1.85 a share was announced at a media briefing in Paarl this morning by KWV chairman Danie de Wet, who said an agreement had been entered into with a "friendly" black economic empowerment (BEE) consortium called Phetogo.

This follows what the KWV board considered a "hostile" bid for 11% of KWV's shares made on behalf of yet-to-be-named financial institutions about three weeks ago. This deal appears to be part of a strategy to acquire at least 25.1% shares through a financial investment company - Anglo African Trading.

Phetogo, (which means change) is chaired by Cape Town businessman Victor Christian and comprises seven different black business, employee and trade union bodies, who have stakes running from as little as 5.5% to 26% share in the consortium.

Christian was appointed to the KWV board with immediate effect. A second member would be appointed within the next three months.

De Wet added that KWV board initiative had the backing of the minister of agriculture Thoko Didiza and was in line with the government's directive of at least a 25% BEE entity in all industries and businesses.

Christian, one of South Africa's first black chartered accountants, said this was the first major black empowerment deal in the history of the South African liquor industry.

KWV CEO, Dr Willem Barnard, said that the offer was open for 21 days and, if the required shares were not available, the company would issue new shares to make up the balance.

He agreed that a special general meeting would have to be called to approve such a deal.