Shareholders of the Australian wine company Peter Lehmann Wines have been told to sit tight and not sell to the competing bidders of Allied Domecq and Hess Group, until the directors can properly consider the most recent increased bid from Allied.

PLW chairman Richard England said the board would meet next Wednesday to discuss its reply to an improved A$4.00 a share offer from Allied Domecq, which was announced yesterday. Allied's latest offer is conditional on achieving at least 51% of the company stock.

Hess, so far, has bid A$3.85 a share, with no conditions. However, it is anticipated the Swiss-based company may also increase its offer to match Allied.

Allied is already PLW's largest shareholder with 14.5% and is expected to have the deeper pockets. But the UK drinks giant is opposed by PLW's founder Peter Lehmann, who though retired from the company, still owns a 10.5% stake, having already sold 5% to Hess. Lehmann said this week he would not sell his remaining stake to anyone.