The Federal Court has blocked Japanese brewing company Asahi's access to privileged documents relating to its purchase of Independent Liquor from two private equity partners, dealing a blow to its case against the duo.
The ruling means it will not be able to trawl through thousands of confidential financial documents concerning the deal with Pacific Equity Partners and Unitas Capital.
Asahi launched legal action earlier this year, claiming the private equity duo lied about the earnings of Independent Liquor, which it bought in 2011 for $1.2 billion.
Asahi was seeking damages over its claims it overpaid for the business.
It is believed the difference between Independent Liquor's allegedly inflated earnings and actual earnings could be as much as $500 million.
PEP and Unitas argued any loss was due to Asahi's failure during the due-diligence process. The private equity partners claimed Asahi had access to more than 6000 financial documents and all the resources and opportunity to investigate the business' earnings.
The case continues.