By Andy Young
Accolade Wines and Lion reached an agreement for Accolade to purchase all of Lion’s premium wine business, Fine Wine Partners (FWP).
The sale includes FWP’s six Australian fully-owned brands Petaluma, Croser, St Hallett, Knappstein, Stonier and Tatachilla, its four Australian wineries, including all plant and equipment, land and vineyards, inventory and the on-and-off-premise distribution network.
Accolade Wines Deputy CEO, Michael East said: "Over the last five years, we have experienced significant growth and expanded our global footprint through the acquisition of Geyser Peak in the United States, Grant Burge Wines in Australia, Mud House in New Zealand and Vina Anakena in Chile.
"The acquisition of the FWP business and brands will strategically enhance Accolade Wines product leadership, complementing our current brand portfolio, while integrating seamlessly into our business model. An expanded premium offering responds to a shift in consumer preferences for quality wine, while allowing us to better meet the needs of our customers.
"These brands, from Australia's most renowned wine regions, represent a very exciting acquisition for Accolade Wines as we further enhance our premium wine credentials and portfolio."
FWP has focused on growing the premium wine segment, however Lion said that after it completed a comprehensive strategic review it became clear that considerable investment would be required to grow FWP to scale.
Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said: “Lion has a range of competing opportunities for investment in its core categories of beer and cider and has been unable to prioritise the investment required to grow Fine Wine Partners to a size justifying its fixed cost base.
“With the improvement in market conditions we have come to the decision that this is the right time to realise a fair price for the business.
“I would like to thank all those who have worked incredibly hard to make Fine Wine Partners such a quality business under Lion’s ownership. We will work with Accolade Wines and our people to ensure a carefully managed transition in ownership.”
A six month transition has been agreed to ensure an orderly change of ownership for all stakeholders. The sale price and the specific terms and conditions are confidential and Lion will retain its wine businesses in both New Zealand and the United States.