Bloomberg News

Bright Food Said to Consider Bid for Treasury Wine Estates

July 01, 2011

(Updates with Foster’s rejection of previous wine offer in fifth paragraph.)

July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Bright Food Group Co., Shanghai’s biggest food and dairy producer, is considering making an offer for Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates Ltd., according to two people familiar with the matter.

The closely held milk producer has had internal talks about making a bid for the Melbourne-based company, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Treasury, a former Foster’s Group Ltd. unit, has a market value of A$2.2 billion ($2.4 billion). Rebecca Smith, a spokeswoman for the world’s second-largest winemaker, declined to comment.

Treasury was split off by Foster’s on May 10 after more than A$2.5 billion of writedowns so the brewer could focus on its 50 percent share of the Australian beer market. The vintner is Australia’s largest with brands including Penfolds and Lindemans. It also owns Beringer of the Napa Valley.

Bright Foods is considering Australian wine assets for acquisition, Pan Jianjun, a Shanghai-based spokesman, said by phone today. He declined to name any companies being evaluated.

Foster’s in September rejected an offer worth as much as A$2.7 billion from an unidentified private-equity bidder for the wine unit, saying it “significantly” undervalued the business. The Melbourne-based brewer itself rejected a A$9.5 billion bid from rival SABMiller Plc last month. London-based SABMiller said it would continue to pursue talks on the deal.

Bright Food may raise as much as 6 billion yuan ($928 million) this year by selling bonds and listing a unit to fund acquisitions and boost production capacity, Chairman Wang Zongnan said in an interview on April 1. It lost a bid to buy 50 percent of French yogurt maker Yoplait in March.

--Michael Wei and Brett Foley. With assistance from Robert Fenner in Melbourne. Editors: Dave McCombs, Paul Jarvis.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Michael Wei in Shanghai at mwei13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave McCombs at dmccombs@bloomberg.net


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