Casella has offered AUS$1.50 per share to acquire 100% of outstanding shares in Peter Lehmann Wines (PLW).
Peter Lehmann Wines majority shareholder The Hess Group Australia and substantial shareholder Margaret Lehmann intend to accept the CFB offer in respect of their holdings. Lehmann directors will recommend shareholders accept CFB offer in absence of a superior offer.
Casella says the combination of CFB and PLW provides opportunity to increase brand and range opportunities for PLW wines into export markets.
Lehmann chairman Christoph Ehrbar said: “The board has evaluated the proposal by Casella Family Brands to acquire Peter Lehmann Wines and is confident that John Casella and his team will be fine custodians of Peter Lehmann’s legacy. Casella Family Brands is an Australian family owned wine success story with the vision and expertise to continue the development of this important South Australian wine business.”
CFB managing director John Casella said: “The proposed acquisition of Peter Lehmann Wines by Casella Family Brands plays an integral part in building a family of quality brands across a range of price segments. We have a clearly defined strategy to extend our Casella brand portfolio to include an incredible range of premium wines that highlight the enormous diversity of the Barossa and its sub-regions. With our strong global footprint we are excited by the prospects and opportunities ahead for the business."
“The sale of Peter Lehmann is a positive development for everyone involved,” said Timothy Persson, managing director of Hess Family Wine Estates. “Casella’s investment in PLW will further unlock the winery’s full potential. At the same time, it allows Hess Family Wine Estates to realise its strategic objective of focusing resources on growing its key brands in the company’s leading markets", said Persson.
In keeping with this strategy, he noted that the group intends to invest the bulk of the sale proceeds in continuing the robust growth of its California-based brands.
Margaret Lehmann said: “I intend to accept Casella’s offer for my shares in the company that bears the Lehmann name. John Casella is himself a winemaker and shares the values that led to the creation of the company. I believe Peter Lehmann Wines will continue to flourish because the patient capital of private ownership is better suited to the cyclical nature of the wine industry.”
Peter Lehmann Wines CEO Jeff Bond said: “The combination of Casella Family Brands and Peter Lehmann Wines can create many new opportunities for both the Peter Lehmann brand and the Barossa. For our growers, employees and customers, the shared vision and values of the two companies will create a strong platform for an exciting future.”
The CFB offer for PLW shares will close at 19.00 Adelaide time on December 12 2014 unless the offer period is extended by CFB.