AUS/US: Yarraman stands firm after E&T rebuttal
US-listed Yarraman Winery has insisted talks with Evans & Tate are "ongoing" despite the Australian wine group rejecting its A$131m (US$102m) takeover bid.
Yarraman, which is listed on the Nasdaq but has vineyards in Australia's Upper Hunter valley, said Evans & Tate has raised "some issues" with its offer.
The company launched its bid for Evans & Tate last month but industry watchers have raised questions over how a smaller, US-listed winery could fund a bid for the West Australia-based wine group.
US conglomerate GE is believed to be providing cash backing for the deal and to help refinance Evans & Tate debts that stand at around A$90m.
Yarraman director Bill Middleton said he would remain in Perth to continue discussions with Evans & Tate. "The lines of communication remain open with Evans & Tate," he said today (12 January). "We will be sitting down with the Evans & Tate board to discuss any concerns with the offer and are confident of resolving any issues."
Evans & Tate company secretary Michael Silbert said the company would not accept Yarraman's offer "in its current form".
He said: "Evans & Tate and its advisors have analysed the offer. Representatives of Evans & Tate have met with Yarraman representatives and raised various matters with Yarraman as matters requiring further consideration and negotiation. These matters do not enable Evans & Tate to accept the offer in its current form."
As part of its proposal, Yarraman has offered Evans & Tate investors one share in the enlarged company for every nine shares.
Evans & Tate has had a tough 18 months, announcing a series of losses, write-downs and winery sales as the business was hit by Australia's wine glut.
Under Yarraman's proposals, Evans & Tate chief executive Martin Johnson would become president and CEO of the enlarged group, which would be named New World Wine Estates.
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