Belfast Telegraph

Majestic Wine finds buyer for high street business in £95m deal

Fortress Investment Group will become the chain’s new owners.

Over 1,000 people work at Majestic’s shops (PA)
Over 1,000 people work at Majestic’s shops (PA)

Majestic Wine has confirmed it will sell its retail business to US firm Fortress Investment Group for £95 million, in a move which will split the high street business off from its London-listed parent.

The sale includes the company’s stores, website, headquarters, trade division and French arm.

Following the transaction, the London-listed group currently known as Majestic will be renamed Naked Wines after its fast-growing online business.

The announcement wraps up months of speculation over the future of the chain, after chief executive Rowan Gormley said that branches could close under cost-saving plans.

More than 1,000 jobs and the 200-odd store portfolio will remain in the business as it transfers to new ownership.

Majestic’s managing director Joshua Lincoln said: “Majestic has been on the UK high street for almost 40 years, building a bank of affection for our bottles, people and stores.

“In March when it was announced Majestic may be closed, or rebranded, I received thousands of emails from concerned customers – with some credible stories about our wines and people. It made finding a suitable buyer for the business crucial.”

A representative for Fortress Investment Group said: “Majestic is a British institution, occupying a unique position as the nation’s largest wine retailer.

“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.

“We are excited to work with management to grow the Majestic story.”

Majestic said an additional sale of a property to a third party would bring in another £5 million, bringing the total proceeds of flogging the business to £100 million.

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

“I would like to thank all staff, customers and suppliers for their loyalty during this process.

“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.”

Shares in the company were up 6% in early trading on Friday.