Close Menu

Majestic completes acquisition of Vagabond Wines

UK specialist retailer Majestic Wine has confirmed it has purchased the Vagabond Wines out of administration as it vows to invest in the long-term future of the Vagabond business and open more wine bars.

The deal, which is said to save over 170 jobs, adds nine of Vagabond’s wine bars to the Majestic portfolio – the underperforming bar in Canary Wharf, and two sites at Gatwick Airport are not part of the acquisition.

Majestic said that it plans to invest in Vagabond’s expansion and long-term growth, and build on its existing customer base, which will allow the company “to engage with a younger demographic of wine consumers”. It will also allow the drinks specialist to enhance its own B2B business, Majestic Commercial, which has been an increasing focus for the business in recent years.

db reported on the proposed merger two weeks ago, shortly after the self-pour wine bar chain announced it was appointing administrators due to “a legacy of Covid debts”. The move came as a surprise given that Vagabond had made £7.4 million worth of revenue in 2022, however the closure of the successful Vagabond Heathrow venue in January as a result of a “reconfiguration of airport security”, seems to have been the crunch point.

The company had poured more than £1.3 million into the site at Terminal 5, which opened in 2022, and, following its closure, it decided to restructure in order to “safeguard the business and protect the jobs of our brilliant team”.

Majestic said that the deal represented “a vote of confidence” in the future of experiential retail and hospitality offerings by its investor Fortress Investment Group and would “accelerate the growth trajectory Majestic has been on since it was acquired by Fortress in December 2019”. In that time, it has opened 16 new stores and invested heavily in the training and development of its staff as well as boosting its supply to hospitality venues through Majestic Commercial, which now supplies more than 3,000 venues across the UK, including Manchester City Football Club, The Lucia Group, Deben Inns, London Shuffle Club and JCB Golf and Country Club.

It aims to grow the B2B business into one of the UK’s biggest suppliers to the on-trade and hospitality sectors within the next five years, it said, as well as opening more retail stores.

Majestic CEO John Colley said he was  delighted to have secured the partnership with Vagabond Wines and was looking forward to working with the team to share their “collective passion, expertise and love of wine”.

“The completion of this deal marks the start of a long-term partnership and we are committed to investing in the Vagabond business, with the potential to open new wine bars across the UK when the right opportunities arise,” he said.

“The combination of the two businesses presents exciting new opportunities for us to grow our customer base, take the Majestic brand to a younger audience and further elevate Vagabond’s product proposition by working alongside our fast-growing on-trade supply division, Majestic Commercial.”

Vagabond’s managing director Matt Fleming said that the team had found “the perfect partner” to enhance the unique strengths of the Vagabond business “and drive a new phase of profitable growth”.

“Vagabond’s bars help our customers discover unique, quality wines in a highly experiential setting – values that align perfectly with what Majestic’s colleagues do every single day in their stores,” he said.

Majestic added that it would allow the team to develop both companies’ offerings of Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) qualifications for both colleagues and customers

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No