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Threshers eyes Oddbins merger

Published:  23 July, 2008

A potential merger between Threshers and Oddbins may progress in an attempt to better control the competitive UK wine market.

Vision Capital, the private equity firm which owns Threshers, has recently approached Castel Freres - the French owner of Oddbins - regarding the possibility of a tie-up deal.

Reports from the weekend suggest executives from both companies met secretly for preliminary talks in the wake of increasingly tough operating conditions in the UK off-licence market.

Oddbins has seen sales suffer this year announcing a rise in pre-tax losses to 8.7 million in 2006. A company statement made last month announced: "In the face of increased competition and overhead costs, Oddbins has been taking steps to improve its long-term performance, which has cost the company in the short term."

Castel purchased Oddbins for 57 million in 2001.

Both Oddbins and Threshers have suffered from alternative wine retailers, such as Majestic and the larger supermarket chains, gaining a greater market share.

Vision Capital - which purchased Threshers earlier this year - appointed a new Chief Executive in the form of Yvonne Rankin with her brief to revamp the company's strategy.