Talks are continuing over the possible acquisition of the assets of Port producer Cockburn by the Symington Family Port Companies.

Symington is reported to be on the verge of making a "significant" investment to acquire the vineyards, cellars and stocks of Cockburn Smithes, now owned by Beam Wine Estates.

Under the deal, which is yet to be finalised, Beam would retain ownership of the company's brands, as well as their distribution and marketing.

"The two parties will be looking to both maintain and enhance the fine reputation that Cockburn's Ports have enjoyed for nearly two centuries," said Ian Gourlay, senior vice president of operations for Beam Wine Estates.

Beam acquired Cockburn from Pernod Ricard after the completion of its purchase of Allied Domecq last year.

Symington joint MD Paul Symington declined to comment on the negotiations.