Robert Parker has stressed that he is not stepping down from The Wine Advocate as details emerged about the magazine’s new Singaporean investor.
Soo Hoo Khoon Peng, rumoured to be TWA’s new majority stakeholder
Various sources have cited 40-year-old businessman Soo Hoo Khoon Peng as TWA’s new majority stakeholder, in a deal which is understood to be worth $15 million.
According to blogger Vincent Pousson, last month saw Soo Hoo suddenly withdraw his financial stake in L’Hermitage, a Singapore fine wine import business that he founded in 2002. A post on his Facebook page, now removed, also shows he made a trip to Parker’s home state of Maryland in early December.
Soo Hoo is understood to have signed up two further investors, both from outside the wine industry, whose interest in TWA is described as “only commercial”.
In a bid to dispel some of the speculation about his future involvement with TWA, which he set up in 1978, Parker told subscribers: “I am not ‘stepping down’ – just delegating what has been a cumbersome part of my job: the copy editing, proofing and other tasks associated with producing the journal.
With Lisa Perotti Brown MW taking over as editor-in-chief, Parker confirmed: “I continue to run the company as chairman of the Board and will continue doing what I love in reviewing the great wines of Bordeaux, the Rhône and California verticals.”
Parker also confirmed that TWA would retain its headquarters in Maryland and continue to publish a print edition, although he noted: “We are simply looking to add a PDF version to our subscriber offerings electronically.”
As for rumours that the magazine was planning to relax its policy against accepting advertisements, Parker clarified: “The Wine Advocate will never accept advertising – not in print or PDF. We are, however, considering non-wine related advertising for the bulletin board and parts of eRobertParker.com.”
Outlining some of the key changes expected from TWA, Parker promised expanded coverage of key wine regions, new applications, including video content and “virtual tastings”, and a series of wine education courses, which are set to “tour a range of cities around the world.”
Thanking his subscribers for their support, Parker concluded: “I never dreamed that the internet and the technology revolution would be such a welcome catalyst to expedite achieving my goals. I also never dreamed TWA would sweep across the civilized world with an impact that was beyond my wildest dreams.
“But the dream, the vision and the commitment to wine consumers for fair and independent content continues. I wish I were 25 years younger as I feel so excited about the new investor team and what we can accomplish together.”