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Diageo completes £361m sale of wine brands

Diageo has completed the sale of its US-based Chateau & Estate Wines and UK-based Percy Fox to Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates in a deal worth £361 million.

Blossom Hill was one of the largest wine brands involved in the sell-off (Photo: Blossom Hill)

The world’s largest spirits producer announced its intention to offload the majority of its wine business to Treasury on 14 October last year. The purchase will see the Australian wine producer take control of Diageo’s UK wine business Percy Fox, which includes wine brands Blossom Hill and Piat d’Or, and its US-based Chateaux & Estate Wine, whose brands include Beaulieu Vineyards, Sterling Vineyards, Acacia, Provenance and Hewitt.

Treasury’s CEO, Michael Clarke, described the deal as a “game changer” that would give the company “an immediate opportunity” to increase its growth in the US, Canada, Asia and Latin America.

While Treasury already owns US brands Beringer, the acquisition of Chateaux & Estates will off it the change to double its “masstige” portfolio in the US as part of a wider strategy by Clarke to get the Australian company back on track.

Having suffered a tumultuous few years, the company posted its full year results for 2015 on 19 August, which showed a net profit of AU$77.6 million after tax, a result $178.5m on the previous year when it suffered a crushing AU$100m loss. 

Meanwhile, Diageo looks set to continue to place its focus on spirits with its CEO Ivan Menezes previously stating that wine was “no longer core” to its strategy. In November, Diageo announced it was also selling its entire Argentine wine business including its Navarro Correas and San Telmo brands to Gupo Peñaflor. Peñaflor will also be appointed as the distributor of Diageo’s international spirits brands in Argentina and, after an interim period, will produce the company’s domestic spirits brands. The financial details of the deal, which is expected to be finalised in 2016, have not been disclosed.

Last year the company also sold US$780m worth of its brewing assets in Jamaica, Malaysia and Singapore to Heineken.

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