Foster's has said it remains in the dark over Molson Coors' intentions, following the brewer's disclosure that it has acquired a 5% stake in the Australian group.

Foster's noted in a statement this evening (5 November) that Molson was the "principal party" behind a 5.3% stake built up in the firm by Deutsche Bank on 25 September.

The Australian group added, however: "Foster's has not been informed of the precise extent of Molson Coors' interest in the company nor their intentions with respect to that interest."

Molson used its third quarter results statement today to reveal itself as the mystery buyer of the stake in Foster's.

The US and Canada-based group has been touted as a potential buyer of Foster's' business.

Molson said today: "During the 3rd quarter, Molson Coors accumulated an approximate 5% economic exposure to Foster's via a cash-settled total return swap, undertaken with Deutsche Bank as our swap counterparty."

CEO and president Peter Swinburn said in an analyst call today: "Australia is an interesting market we've been studying for some time, and we viewed this as an attractive opportunity."

He added that Molson may yet choose to either raise its stake, sit tight or back away from the Australian group.

Foster's is expected to sell the majority of its wine division, which would prompt significant international interest in its more successful Australian beer operations, sources close to the situation have told just-drinks. 

The deadline for a review of Foster's wine division has been extended from the end of this year to February 2009. Some analysts believe a sale might be difficult to achieve in the current economic environment, however.