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US: Chalone committee to review Rothschild bid

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The Chalone Wine Group has formed a committee, consisting solely of independent directors, to review and evaluate the proposed acquisition of all of Chalone's outstanding publicly held shares by Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite (DBR).

DBR, which currently holds approximately 46% of Chalone's outstanding common stock, announced last week that it was forming a joint venture with the US's Constellation Brands and the Huneeus Family to form a fine wine group. Part of the deal includes the acquisition of Chalone.

The takeover offer is for US$9.25 per share in cash.
Constellation Brands and Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) will provide the cash funding for the purchase of the Chalone shares.  The proposed joint venture would also provide current Chalone shareholders with wine club benefits and rights similar to those currently provided by Chalone.

Chalone's independent committee consists of C. Richard Kramlich, Marcel Gani and Phillip Plant.

The independent committee has retained Latham & Watkins as legal counsel and intends to interview financial advisors in the near future. The independent committee expects to respond to DBR following a complete evaluation of the DBR proposal. The DBR proposal expires by its terms on June 30, 2004.


Sectors: Wine

Companies: Constellation Brands

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