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Panel agrees to Montana inquiry

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Monday 26th February 2001

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The Market Surveillance Panel has agreed to Montana's request to look into the purchase of shares in the winemaker by Lion Nathan earlier this month.

The Panel says it will appoint a standing committee to issue rulings on "certain matters related to the acquisition by Lion Nathan of various shares in Montana on either 8 or 9 February 2001".

Montana asked for the inquiry last week after global liquor company Allied Domecq issued a formal complaint alleging Lion had breached the NZSE's 'notice and pause' provisions.

At issue is whether any transfers of shares took place prior to midnight on Thursday February 8th, before Lion had permission to buy Montana stock at its new price offer.

There is also the question of whether broker Credit Suisse First Boston was acting on behalf of Lion or on behalf of potential sellers when it was making inquiries on Thursday to institutions about selling their Montana shareholdings.

Allied Domecq was unable to complete a takeover of the company at $4.40 a share because Lion Nathan stepped in and took a majority shareholding, topping up its stake at $4.65 a share.

The Market Surveillance Panel says it hopes to confirm the membership of the Standing Committee shortly.

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