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Majestic Wine moves out of multichannel to focus online with £100m sale of the Majestic Wine Warehouses business

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Majestic Wine said today that it had found a buyer for its store-based Majestic Wine Warehouses business as it pivots the business to focus on its online Naked Wines business.

CF Bacchus Holdings, controlled by Fortress Investment Group, will pay £95m for the Warehouses business and for its French business, Les Celliers de Calais, while the sale of one freehold Majestic Wine freehold property to a separate buyer for redevelopment is expected to bring in about £5m. 

The sale, which is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of this year subject to approval by shareholders and EU regulatory clearance , will free the Majestic Wine board to concentrate on growing its online, social media-driven Naked Wines business as well as returning £3.8m to shareholders and paying down debt. Its Stockmarket-listed group is expected to be renamed as Naked Wines in due course.

Rowan Gormley, who founded Naked Wines in 2008 and became chief executive of Majestic Wine through its acquisition of Naked, has previously said that while he saw a bright future for both the multichannel Majestic model, and for the pureplay Naked Wines model, the business only had the resources to invest in one of them.

Today Gormley said: “I am delighted that we have managed to secure an independent future for both Naked and Majestic Wine and Commercial, allowing both companies to pursue growth by focusing on their unique propositions.”

He added: “We look forward to the future and continuing to focus on what we do best… sharing our spectacular wines from our hundreds of talented winemakers with our customers.”

Bacchus Holdings will initially pay an initial £78m in cash for the Majestic Retail and Commercial businesses, while £12m comes in the form of five-year loan from Majestic Wine to that buyer. A further £5m payment is deferred for two years, and will depend on the post-Brexit regulatory landscape and the performance of the French business. 

Majestic Wine is a Top250 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, while Naked Wines is Top500.

Image: Fotolia

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