Blass blasts Treasury’s American venture

Wolf Blass, the man behind the Treasury Wine Estates brand, has called the company’s US venture a “nightmare from day one”, and urged whoever takes over the company to sell it immediately.

Wolf Blass also said that his brand was as important as Treasury's flagship Penfolds label

Wolf Blass also said that his brand was as important as Treasury’s flagship Penfolds label

Mr Blass said he had told the Treasury’s board over a number of years that it needed to sell the American side of the business because it wasn’t giving enough returns. He maintains that the board refused to listen.

“America has been a nightmare from day one,” Mr Blass told the Sydney Morning Herald.

He also said he cautioned the board – then led by Foster’s Group before it split to form Treasury – against buying US brand Beringer for $2.9 billion in 2000.

“This is going to be the greatest disaster you’ve ever made,” Blass claims to have told them.

With Treasury up for sale and with two strong bids having been proposed in recent weeks, Mr Blass also said that whoever gains control of Treasury should strike off the US wing of the business.

On Monday a second bidder, TPG Capital, threw its hat into the ring with a proposal of $5.20 a share, valuing the company at $3.4 billion. This was the same as a buyout offer presented by KKR and partner Rhone Capital last week.

Industry insiders have said that both Pernod Ricard and Constellations Brands could be interested in taking over the US business, as both want to bolster their presence in the US wine market.

 

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