KWV fends off Halewood bid

18 February, 2011

South African wine firm KWV is seeking legal advice in an effort to see off a pot­-?ential takeover by the UK’s Halewood International, owner of Red Square vodka and Crabbie’s.?The move follows a ruling by South Africa’s Securities Regulation Panel that Paarl-based KWV was obliged to treat Halewood as a bona fide suitor and disclose financial information to the British firm.?The KWV board had recommended an earlier offer for the business from South African food and beverage group Pioneer Foods, which was subsequently withdrawn.?KWV had argued that Halewood was not a serious potential buyer of the company and that it was not obliged to provide the British company with the data it would require to make an informed offer.?In a statement on the saga, KWV said that it “noted the ruling of the SRP” but that Halewood’s efforts to gain equal access to the data previously supplied to Pioneer were “inappropriate”.?Halewood’s position appears to have been weakened by the acquisition of a 25% stake in KWV by Hosken Consolidated Investments, a South African group with interests in property, leisure and the media.?The KWV board’s statement said its stance had been influenced by an indication from HCI that it would not favour a Halewood takeover or merger.?KWV said: “The board is satisfied that there is no prospect whatsoever of any merger taking place between KWV and Halewood on the basis of current suggestions by Halewood.”?Halewood, which already has minor interests in the South African wine industry and is reported to be attracted by KWV’s spirits and liqueurs brands, declined to comment when contacted by OLN.?KWV formed as a co-operative in 1918 and was the largest exporter of South African wine in the apartheid era, as well as the regulator of industry production quotas scrapped in 1992. It entered into the industry’s largest black economic empowerment deal when the Phetogo Consortium took a 25% stake in 2004.?Its shares have been traded publicly since 2003.

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