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As Suitors Circle, TWE Chief Clarke Says His U.S. Acquisition Plan Has Support

August 25, 2014

While Treasury Wine Estates is widely expected to be acquired in the near future, TWE chief executive Michael Clarke says he too is on the acquisition hunt. In a recent interview with Australia’s Fairfax Media, Clarke said that he has compiled a “hit list” of acquisition targets in the U.S. market, saying that the “bolt-on” deals he was considering made sense whether or not Treasury was acquired. Clarke added that TWE’s biggest shareholders were supportive of his acquisition plan—as were the Australian winemaker’s private equity suitors: KKR/Rhône Capital and a second party believed to be Texas-based firm TPG made matching $3.2 billion bids for Treasury in recent weeks. Washington, D.C.-based firm Carlyle Group is also said to be interested in TWE.

Clarke also said that, after four months at TWE’s helm, he has already met his original target of A$35 million ($33m) in cost savings, and he expects to achieve more savings this year. For its fiscal year ending June 30, TWE posted a net loss of A$100.9 million ($94m) as it absorbed A$281 million ($262m) in writedowns, although the company’s net sales did rise by 1% to A$1.7 billion ($1.58b), as an improved price mix and positive currency impact offset a 6.4% global volume decline.

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