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Former Beringer Owner Reportedly Behind New Bid For Treasury

August 11, 2014

A new contender has emerged in the race to acquire Treasury Wine Estates. Treasury revealed in a stock filing last night that it had received a new bid matching the A$5.20 ($4.82) a share offer lodged August 4 by private equities KKR and Rhône Capital, and said it would “engage further with this private equity investor,” who wished to remain anonymous. After news of the fresh bid—valuing Treasury at $3.2 billion—the company’s shares closed up 4% to A$5.33 ($4.94).

Multiple outlets report that the new mystery bidder is U.S.-based TPG Capital, formerly known as Texas Pacific Group, a private equity firm founded in 1992 by David Bonderman, James Coulter and William S. Price III. TPG, a former owner of Treasury’s Beringer unit, sold Beringer to former Treasury parent Foster’s Group in 2000 for $1.5 billion. Analysts have long questioned whether Foster’s overpaid in that deal for Beringer—as well as in its play for Australian countrymate Southcorp in 2005—in part contributing to Treasury’s current difficulties.

In its statement last night, Treasury’s board reiterated its stance that it would evaluate the takeover proposals on the table against its own turnaround plans—led by new CEO Michael Clarke—which include increased spending on the marketing side and cost-cutting initiatives.

Analysts believe more suitors for Treasury could still emerge. Last week, China’s Bright Food, around which rumors of a possible acquisition of Treasury have swirled for years, took itself out of the running for the embattled Australian winemaker.

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