Two SA wine brand owners in ‘very early stage’ merger talks

The owner of a stable of SA wine brands including Hardy’s and Petaluma is in merger talks with the Adelaide-based owner of Nepenthe and Barossa Valley Wine Company.

Feb 26, 2024, updated Feb 26, 2024
Adelaide Hills brand Nepenthe is among the brands driving growth for Australian Vintage Limited. Picture: Supplied

Adelaide Hills brand Nepenthe is among the brands driving growth for Australian Vintage Limited. Picture: Supplied

Just weeks after Accolade Wines announced that a consortium of investment firms had taken full ownership of the company which owns SA wine brands Hardy’s, Petaluma, Banrock Station and more, further market consolidation could be incoming via a merger with Australian Vintage.

Announced to the ASX this morning following media speculation in The Australian over the weekend, the two companies are in “very early stage” discussions about a “potential transaction between AVG and Accolade Wines”.

Australian Vintage is headquartered at Cowandilla, and its portfolio includes the Barossa Valley Wine Company, Nepenthe, Tempus Two, McGuigan Wines and Passion Pop.

Last week, the company said in its half year results announcement that a strategic review had “highlighted that the wine industry’s external shocks have created a unique and challenging operating environment for participants in that industry”.

It said it would take “active steps to enhance resilience and growth prospects”, including through exploring “larger transformational opportunities, including potential mergers” which were “still in very early stages”.

Over the weekend, The Australian reported Accolade Wines was looking at a merger with either Australian Vintage or Pernod Ricard’s Australian arm. The report outlined that the suitor’s new owners – a consortium of investment funds including Bain Capital – prefer Pernod Ricard over the South Australian company.

If it were to merge or take over the $92 million Australian Vintage, Accolade would get back-door access to the stock exchange. The index tracking the performance of the top 200 companies on the ASX is currently hovering around record highs.

However, any potential deal remains nascent, with Australian Vintage today noting “it is in exploratory discussions with Accolade, however these discussions are at a very early stage, and there is no certainty that any transaction will eventuate”.

The news has encouraged Australian Vintage shareholders however, with the company’s shares up 4.29 per cent in early trade this morning.

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