Cavendish Corporate Finance advises on the sale of Naked Wines, the international online wine business, to Majestic Wine Plc for up to £70 million.
Founded by Rowan Gormley, CEO, in December 2008, Naked Wines operates a unique online crowd funded business model whereby its subscription customers (“Angels”) help fund independent winemakers worldwide in exchange for access to exclusive wines at preferential prices. Following rapid success in the UK, Naked Wines entered the US and Australian markets in June 2012.
The success of this innovative approach, combined with a highly personalised wine experience for customers, has driven rapid growth of the business. Naked Wines has a fast growing and loyal subscriber base of Angels numbering over 300,000 across its three markets and works with over 130 independent winemakers in 14 countries. For the year ended 31 December 2014 Naked Wines sales were up 40% year on year, with sales of £74 million and an EBITDA loss of £3.3 million.
Majestic Wine Plc is the UK’s largest wine specialist retailer, trading from 200+ stores across the UK with over 640,000 active customers operating in the premium market segment. Majestic and Naked Wines will continue to operate under their respective brands.
Rowan Gormley, CEO and founder of Naked Wines is to be appointed as CEO of the enlarged Majestic Wine Group.
Cavendish advised the management and shareholders of Naked Wines, including Naked Wine’s majority shareholder, German wine group WIV Wein International AG (“WIV”).
Naked Wines is one of a number of previous and current E-Commerce mandates for Cavendish and follows the sales of over 65s specialist direct retailer Coopers of Stortford to Damartex and online food retailer Donald Russell to Vestey.
Jonathan Buxton, Partner and head of the Cavendish consumer group, commented:
“This transaction is a fantastic outcome for the Naked Wine shareholders and management team and a landmark deal for the sector. We have very much enjoyed working with WIV’s Chairman Andres Ruff, Rowan Gormley (NW CEO and founder), James Crawford (NW Finance Director) and their respective teams.”
Andres Ruff, Chairman of WIV, said:
“The team at Cavendish stayed with us every step of the way and we relied heavily on their advice and expertise throughout the process.”
“When choosing our advisers we wanted to work with a firm which had the same passion and values as Naked Wines and so were delighted when we found Cavendish. Jonathan and John successfully balanced the requirements of the different shareholders and showed an ability to move very quickly and make bold decisions at key stages of the deal. I would highly recommend them to anyone thinking of selling-up or raising cash.”
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