Majestic Wine to be Acquired by Funds Managed by US Investment Firm Fortress in August 2019 – including all stores in the UK, France and Majestic Commercial business.
Fortress attracted to Majestic depth of retail experience, brand strength and unique position as UK’s largest specialist wine retailer
British wine retail has been given a significant boost , as leading US investment firm Fortress confirmed the planned purchase of the UK’s largest specialist wine retailer, Majestic Wine, by a vehicle controlled by funds managed by Fortress Investment Group LLC (”Fortress”).
The sale includes the company’s stores, website, headquarters plus on-trade and French divisions. Over 1,000 roles and Majestic’s store network are set to remain.
Majestic, founded in 1980, sells over 37 million bottles of wine, spirits and beers each year and has over a million customers. The business was traditionally set-up under a warehouse model, but dropped its minimum purchase in 2015 in order to increase accessibility to its products and offerings and build on the established brand loyalty of Majestic retail customers. It had a turnover of over £300m last year.
Fortress see Majestic as providing a great opportunity to enter UK retail. The investment group pointed to Majestic’s ‘strong cross channel journey, expert staff and widespread brand affection’ when deciding to buy the business from its current PLC status.
Alongside strong growth in multi-channel sales, Majestic believe there is still a key role to be played for face to face retail – and that wine is uniquely placed to provide an experience which cannot be found online.
“Majestic has been on the UK high street for almost 40 years, building a bank of affection for our bottles, people and stores” explains Joshua Lincoln, Managing Director at Majestic. “In March when it was announced Majestic may be closed, or rebranded, I received thousands of emails from concerned customers – with some incredible stories about our wines and people. It made finding a suitable buyer for the business crucial.”
We intend to be the leader in the U.K. retail revolution with a focus on experience, expertise and product. Majestic has grown through periods of dramatic change, I know we have the recipe to do it again. 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.”
“Majestic is a British institution, occupying a unique position as the nation’s largest wine retailer,” said a representative of Fortress Investment Group LLC. “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’s Recent Timeline
- Majestic Wine PLC buys Naked Wines in 2015.
- Both businesses run side by side under PLC ownership, as an AIM Stock Listing.
- Majestic roll out new services, including a new website, new national fulfillment centre and new store formats
- In March 2019 Majestic PLC announce a strategic review of the Group with the sale, rebrand to Naked or closure of Majestic Retail all as options. The Group also announce the umbrella PLC is also to be renamed Naked Wines PLC (pending board approval).
- June 2019 Majestic PLC confirm the likely sale of Majestic Retail and Commercial as a whole – rather than a partial sale/closures or physical rebrand
- July 2019 Fortress confirm purchase of Majestic Retail and Commercial from the soon-to-be-named Naked Wines PLC