Chris Brook-Carter

PLW ping pong

By: Chris Brook-Carter - 25 September 2003 15:32

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The battle for Peter Lehmann Wines is beginning to feel like a game of financial ping pong, and one which seems to be doing none of the participants any good, least of all the ball, Peter Lehmann Wines. The comments yesterday by founder Peter Lehmann about the ability of the company's independent directors (who initially backed the Allied bid) to carry on in their roles, suggests the eventual winner is going to inherit a company battered and bruised by this process.
The motives of any of the players in this drama are hard to read, particularly Allied, which, should it win, will be paying for one of the most expensive wine assets in recent history.
A leading figure in the Australian wine industry whom I spoke with on Monday, suggested that Peter Lehmann Wines just doesn't control the grape supplies to make the volumes Allied will need to sell to justify this price. However, he suggested this could be the start of something for the company in Australia and if Allied could secure the amount of grapes it will need by perhaps making other acquisitions - in particular McGuigan-Simeon - the Bristol-based giant could still make this deal pay.
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