Lay & Wheeler / Coterie Limited
Cavendish Corporate Finance, the UK’s leading sell-side mid-market M&A firm, has advised Naked Wines Plc on its sale of international fine wine merchant Lay & Wheeler to Coterie Limited for £11.3m.
Lay & Wheeler is one of the UK’s most prestigious wine merchants and has been a market leading name in the global fine wine trade since 1854. Multi award winning, Lay & Wheeler’s core focus is the online retail of fine wines through its subscription-based wine clubs along with brokerage and bonded cellarage at the Vinotheque storage site.
At the centre of the business’s success is its commitment to strong supplier relationships, with access to some of the world’s most sought after wines based on multi-generational affiliations dating back decades. In addition to this, the business benefits from an exceptionally loyal customer base, with members staying with the business over decades, as well as high income individuals who purchase on an ad-hoc basis.
Majestic Wine Plc acquired 100 per cent of Lay & Wheeler in 2009, after which the business continued to operate independently, with separate management, staff and operations. In 2016, new management was introduced to reinvigorate the brand under the leadership of Managing Director Katy Keating, which has seen the business expand, offer additional services and increase sales by over a third.
Earlier this year, Majestic Wine, which acquired Naked Wines in 2015, a deal on which Cavendish advised, sold its retail arm to US private equity firm Fortress and re-branded solely as Naked Wines.
Cavendish has extensive experience in the drinks sector. The most recent high-profile deal in which it was involved, through its membership of global adviser group Oaklins, was advising Irish artisan roasted coffee producer Java Republic on its merger with Spanish coffee group Cafento.
The Cavendish team was led by John Farrugia and Rebecca McCredie at Cavendish Corporate Finance.
John Farrugia, Partner at Cavendish Corporate Finance, commented:
“We are delighted to have advised on this transaction for Naked Wines, the second time we have acted for the company in recent years. Lay & Wheeler is one of the UK’s most prestigious fine wine merchants and its recent strong performance ensured that this was a very competitive process with a number of UK and International bidders. The deal opens up a new chapter in Lay & Wheeler’s history and helps Naked Wines further refine its business model and concentrate on its online business, which has such excellent potential for future growth. We were pleased to capitalise on our international reach to source a high-quality buyer for Lay & Wheeler and the sale illustrates that there is still strong overseas interest in acquiring UK mid-market businesses.”
It was a great pleasure to work with the Cavendish team again having originally worked with them when we sold Naked Wines to Majestic Wine in 2015. John, Rebecca and the team rigorously assessed the market to find the right new owner for a business with dedicated staff and suppliers and the right deal to achieve Naked’s goal of realising capital and simplifying the business.
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