Fortune Brands may steal Hardy's Kendall-Jackson thunder

Most popular

Could a Pernod offload revolutionise wine?

The just-drinks Analyst returns

Why drinks companies will struggle to break Gen Z

Wine's race to the top - whither value?

How to ride the 'Gen Z' wave in the on-premise


Since Foster's created Beringer Blass, its Australian rivals have been trying desperately to catch up. California is the prime target and BRL Hardy's talks with Kendall-Jackson are nearing a conclusion. But, as David Robertson reports, Fortune Brands, the owner of Jim Beam Brands, may swoop in at snatch Hardy's prize.

The love-in between trans-Pacific winemakers seems to be cooling as the relationship shifts in favour of the Americans.

Ever since Foster's scooped its rivals with the $2.6 billion purchase of Beringer Wines last year, other big Australian wine companies have been scrabbling for partners in the US.

Eileen Hardy Shiraz

Southcorp's merger with Rosemount Estates has applied pressure at home and the focus is now on BRL Hardy to make an acquisition. It has initiated talks with the Californian Kendall-Jackson and the industry is poised for another brash Australian company to make major in-roads in the US.

BRL Hardy's largest investor, the International Wine Investment Fund which holds 12.5%, last week agreed to stump up $75m to help Hardy make its bid for Kendall-Jackson.

Hardy is understood to have made the final three but the price seems to be approaching $3 billion - up from an initial forecast of $2.6 billion.

An extra $75m is not going to get Hardy very close and stockmarket commentators in Sydney suggest that unless Hardy can make the numbers look VERY good there is little chance of this deal floating.

Houghton Show Reserve Rhine Riesling

Kendall-Jackson has so far kept its own council with Hardy thought to have had only one conversation with the Americans about its offer.

"They haven't contacted us and we're hardly in a position to push the point," said a Hardy source.

The frontrunner for Kendall-Jackson seems to be Fortune Brands, which owns Jim Beam bourbon, and is about nine times bigger than Hardy.

In the meantime Hardy has been putting out the feelers to other US winemakers but with limited success. Both Buena Vista and Pine Ridge appear to have said no.

Hardy is also talking to Constellation Brands but as this giant (the second biggest in the US) is considerably bigger than the Australian company it seems likely that any deal will not see Hardy as the dominant partner.

Related Content

Will Bai Brands take Dr Pepper Snapple Group to the next level? - Analysis

Will Bai Brands take Dr Pepper Snapple Group to the next level? - Analysis...

Will Dr Pepper Snapple Group buy Bai Brands? - Analysis

Will Dr Pepper Snapple Group buy Bai Brands? - Analysis...

just the Answer - Jackson Family Wine's president Rick Tigner

just the Answer - Jackson Family Wine's president Rick Tigner...

"We have never seen anything like this level of enthusiasm for American whiskey" - Interview, Heaven...

Oops! This article is copy protected.

Why can’t I copy the text on this page?

The ability to copy articles is specially reserved for people who are part of a group membership.

How do I become a group member?

To find out how you and your team can copy and share articles and save money as part of a group membership call Sean Clinton on
+44 (0)1527 573 736 or complete this form..

Forgot your password?