The board of the Australian wine company, Peter Lehmann Wines (PLW), has recommended the enhanced takeover offer from the Swiss company, Hess Group, of A$143.6m (US$97.7m), or A$3.85-per-share.

The improved Hess offer matched the basic counter-bid tabled by UK-based group, Allied Domecq.

However, the four independent directors of PLW said they would review their recommendation if Allied Domecq improved its offer. "They recommend that PLW shareholders accept the revised Hess offer for all of their shares, subject to no higher offer emerging," PLW said in a statement.

At one stage, before Hess improved its offer, three of the independent directors, including chairman Richard England, had backed the Allied bid.

Hess not only improved its bid price to A$3.85-a-share but also dropped its condition that its offer to buy was contingent on gaining acceptances for 35% of the capital. Allied's offer price would rise to A$4.00 if it were to gain acceptances for 90% of the shares. But it has been noted that with the company's founder, Peter Lehmann, implacably opposed to the Allied bid and still controlling a 10.5% stake in the company, Allied would not achieve that threshold.