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Yarraman rejects Evans & Tate bid

Australian wine group Evans & Tate has today turned down the takeover bid from Yarraman Winery.

The E&T board said in a statement it would not be accepting the offer ‘in its current form’. But it appeared to leave the door open for further negotiations and an improved offer.

‘Representatives of E&T have met with Yarraman representatives and raised various matters with Yarraman as matters requiring further consideration and negotiation. These matters do not enable E&T to accept the Offer in its current form,’ the statement said.

The statement was issued in response to AAP (Australian Associated Press) which reported today that E&T was likely to accept the bid.

AAP said, ‘Yarraman Winery Inc has given a strong indication that beleaguered Australian wine maker Evans & Tate Ltd will accept its US$20m (AUS$25.17m) takeover offer.

Yarraman North America director Bill Middleton said that ongoing talks this week with the Evans & Tate board, which will continue into the early part of next week, were ‘progressing very well’.

‘Neither of us has seen any insurmountable obstacle to proceeding to a transaction at this stage,’ Mr Middleton told AAP.

US-listed wine group Yarraman declined to comment on rumours that multinational GE Money is the debt financier behind its play for Evans & Tate.

Through a conditional sale agreed on 21 December 2006 Yarraman Winery holds 19.9% of E&T’s shares. This stake was acquired from Grape Expectations Pty Ltd, a company controlled by Franklin Tate, the ex-chairman of E&T. However, the deal will be off if the takeover is not successful.

Written by Jim Budd

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