American investment firm Fortress has announced its acquisition of Majestic Wine. This is the latest chapter in the months-long Majestic saga that saw the UK wine merchant gasping for breath after the announcement, last March, that it was going to be closed and swallowed up by Naked Wines.
Today's sale, worth a total of £100m, includes all Majestic's stores, its website, headquarters and on-trade and French divisions.
Majestic will be using the proceeds from the sale to extinguish its debt, focus on the Naked Wines online business and return £3.8m to shareholders.
The reason behind the purchase appears to be Fortress' interest in entering the UK retail sector: 'Majestic is a British institution, occupying a unique position as the nation's largest wine retailer,' said a spokesperson for Fortress. 'It offers a seamless customer experience across multiple channels - physical retail, online, subscription and to the on-trade – and has a customer base which loves its stores, people, brand and, of course, wines.'
Josh Lincoln, managing director of Majestic commented: 'We want to keep investing in our stores, in our people and our product – everything you can feel, touch and sip. After all, you cannot taste wine online.'