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Petit-Village sale delayed by a year or more

Bordeaux proprietor Gérard Perse has delayed the purchase of Château Petit-Village by a year – and he will only risk buying if the world economy picks up.

Perse agreed in March this year to buy the 12ha Pomerol property from AXA Millesimes, but both parties have agreed to hold off the sale until this time next year because of the state of the Bordeaux market in particular and the general fall in world markets.

The €45m (£29m) deal was agreed between AXA and Perse, who owns Château Pavie, Monbousquet, Pavie-Decesse, Bellevue-Mondotte and two properties in Côtes de Castillon. Perse said he will not buy Petit-Village if this time next year the markets are still falling.

‘I am 53 years old, and I can’t afford to take risks like that,’ he told decanter.com. ‘The stock market is coming down everywhere. If it is the same as this year, I will not buy.’

He also said the 2001 vintage in Bordeaux was not selling well, and there was no guarantee that 2002 would be any better.

Perse says the protocole d’accord he signed does not make him liable for a penalty fee. Had he pulled out of the deal after signing a compromis de vente he would have had to pay 10% of the sale price.

The former hypermarket owner has also circulated a detailed document to influential members of the wine industry explaining why he has pulled back from the deal.

‘The present economic situation has convinced Gerard Perse that he would be making a disproportionate investment,’ the document says. Feeling that he has been accused of ratcheting up Bordeaux prices he also explains that he is not a troublemaker.

The document says that wine professionals in Bordeaux suggested Perse had ‘set the bar too high’ and forced up prices. Saying he has no desire to be a perturbateur – troublemaker – he says he is devoted to Bordeaux and to the development of the terroir, and that the price is not inflated.

‘The price of the château is reasonable when you take into account we are not just buying the property, but all the stock and all the assets as well.’

Written by Adam Lechmere2 August 2002

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