Foster's Southcorp takeover complete

  • Wednesday 11 May 2005

Drinks giant Foster’s has won control of Australian corporation Southcorp, taking 50.9% of the company’s shares.

The Foster’s offer is now unconditional as its latest offer of AUS$4.26 per share was conditional upon its attaining acceptances of 50%.

Foster’s said that as well as its original stake of 18.8% in Southcorp it had secured shares amounting to 15.1% form retail investors and 17% from institutional investors.

The company had taken out full-page newspaper advertisements in recent days urging Southcorp shareholders to accept its offer.

The Foster’s offer had been recommended to the Southcorp shareholders by the majority of the Southcorp board but not by Southcorp chief executive John Ballard and non-executive director Ern Pope.

The takeover will make Foster’s the world’s second largest wine company by volume after New York-based Constellation.

By value, Foster’s will be largest producer of premium wines, priced at more than US$3 per bottle.

Foster’s owns highly-rated California producers Beringer and Stags’ Leap, Australia’s Wolf Blass, Matua Wines in New Zealand and a handful of other properties.

It is also the producer of Foster’s lager, Victoria Bitter and other beers, Strongbow cider and dozens of whiskies, vodkas and ‘ready to drink’ spirit mixes.

Southcorp owns Penfolds, Rosemount and Lindemans, Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Devil's Lair and some dozen other Australian producers.

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