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Conviviality pursuing sale of Bargain Booze and Wine Rack

Published:  05 April, 2018

Toppled wholesaling giant Conviviality responds to the sale of its Conviviality Direct business, including Bibendum and Matthew Clark, and is now hopeful for the sale of retail outfits Bargain Booze and Wine Rack

Conviviality has said it "continues to pursue opportunities" for its retail chains, following yesterday’s sale of its wholesale arm to Irish Magners cider owner C&C Group.

It emerged yesterday that C&C Group had thrown a lifeline to the collapsed empire  by purchasing Conviviality Direct, with financial backing from mega-brewers AB InBev and a helping hand from auditing firm PwC which helped to accelerate the sales process.

In a statement, Conviviality said the deal provided continuity of supply for customers as well as “continuity of employment” for the 1,900 workers across the company’s wholesale operations.

It also said it would be paying trade creditors of its Conviviality Direct ‘in full’.

The future of franchises Wine Rack, Bargain Booze and some 700 employees who support the retail side of the business however, remain uncertain.

“The company continues to pursue opportunities in respect of the Conviviality Retail business, and will provide an update in due course,” Conviviality said, going on to confirm that no other parts of the group have had administrators appointed, and that the rest of the group “continue[s] to trade.”

Following a tumultuous month of profit warnings and failed efforts to raise £125m in emergency sums, yesterday C&C’s partial buyout was completed for a “nominal sum”.

A further £102m will be paid to Conviviality’s lenders over the next year.

The deal puts Matthew Clark and Bibendum, both major suppliers of wine to the UK trade into the hands of beer-focused companies C&C, which owns Magners cider and AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer.