The New Zealand Stock Exchange takeover panel has barred UK drinks group Allied Domecq from buying more shares in wine-maker Montana for a further 21 days in a move that seems to favour counter-bidder Lion Nathan, the brewer, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. Both were due to start buying again in about two weeks under notices filed last week. The panel's decision suggests Lion will gain a timing advantage of a couple of days. But it is likely to be a slim one. Both companies will be squabbling over some 11 per cent of uncommitted shares, held by funds with selling restrictions or hard-to-trace shareholders, the UK paper continued. The real action is likely to occur next month, when Lion is due to divest its 19 per cent stake. This could lead to a battle in the market as both Lion and Allied seek to gain a controlling interest in Montana.