Constellation bids $1.3bn for Mondavi

  • Tuesday 19 October 2004

The world’s biggest wine company Constellation Brands today offered to buy Robert Mondavi Corporation for about US$1.3bn.

On Monday Mondavi said it had received an unsolicited offer but did not identify the suitor.

‘We would like to commence discussions with Mondavi immediately with a goal of entering into a merger agreement with Mondavi as soon as possible,’ Constellation Brands CEO Richard Sands said.

‘Mondavi, with its great portfolio of wines, unmatched brand equity and storied tradition, adds breadth to Constellation's world-leading wine portfolio, and provides Constellation with additional growth opportunities,’ Sands said.

Since merging with BRL Hardy early in 2003, Constellation overtook E&J Gallo as the world’s biggest wine company. It owns Canandaigua wines, premium producer Franciscan Estates – which includes such wineries as Chile's Veramonte – UK wholesaler Matthew Clark, Stowells of Chelsea, Dry Blackthorn cider and a range of beers including Corona, Tsingtao, Tetley's bitter and Peroni.

Constellation’s high-end operation, Cellar Door, has a portfolio which includes Barossa Valley Estate, Leasingham and Stonehaven in Australia and other premium wineries in the USA, New Zealand and Chile.

BRL Hardy's 17 wine brands include Banrock Station, Nottage Hill, Hardys, and La Baume in France's Languedoc.

During negotiations Constellation chairman Richard Sands assured his opposite number at Mondavi, Ted Hall, that Constellation understood and appreciated ‘the long, rich history of your Company, the Mondavi family and the Mondavi brand. Constellation will honor and protect that great tradition.’

Mondavi has said little about the bid other than that it has not been rejected.

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