The bidding war to buy Golden State Vintners (GSV) has taken yet another turn. The supplier of wines and winemaking services announced today that it has received a new offer from The Wine Group (TWG) to acquire GSV at a cash price of US$8.25 per fully diluted share. The offer follows last week's bid by the group led by GSV's chief executive Jeffrey O'Neill of $7.80 a share, or $77m, plus the assumption of $29m of debt.

As a result, and as required by the merger agreement made with O'Neill's group, the GSV board has delivered written notice to the O'Neill Group that GSV is prepared to terminate the O'Neill agreement.

Under the terms of the O'Neill merger agreement, GSV is obligated to negotiate in good faith with the O'Neill group until Thursday (22 April), should the O'Neill group wish to adjust the terms and conditions of the agreement, so as to enable the O'Neill group to proceed on adjusted terms with the transactions contemplated in its agreement.

In the event that the board terminates the O'Neill agreement, SBIC Partners (SBIC), which exercises voting control over approximately 62% of the votes entitled to be cast in favour of the merger, will be released from the terms of the Voting Agreement, dated 14 April, with the O'Neill group.

Upon such a release, SBIC is required by the terms of the TWG offer to enter into a substantially similar voting agreement with TWG pursuant to which SBIC would provide a written consent to the merger transaction on 28 April, unless a competing offer is under consideration at that date or GSV had previously terminated the TWG merger agreement.