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Carlyle Group buys Accolade Wines for AUD$1bn

Published:  05 April, 2018

In what has been a tumultuous week for wine, it has now emerged that Accolade Wines, the biggest volume supplier of wines to the UK off-trade, has been bought out by multinational investment firm Carlyle Group.

The AUS$1bn deal, is for 100% of the company and includes popular brands, Hardys, Banrock Station and Echo Falls which are a staple of UK shelves.

Since 2011, Accolade has been part owned by Champ Private Equity, which paid AU$290 million for 80% of the company.

US-based BWS giant Constellation Brands retained 20%.

Accolade is the former Europe and Australia wines division of Constellation Brands.

Analysts are focusing on the opportunity for Carlyle to leverage Accolade’s well-established brands in China, making use of Carlyle’s on the ground offices in the country as well a burgeoning middle class which are calling out for wine.

“The value of wine exports to mainland China grew by 63% in 2017 and if US wines are subjected to higher tariffs when imported into China, it would directly benefit Australian companies, like Accolade, knocking on China’s front door to capitalise on a growing market,” Angus Grierson, MD of LGB Corporate Finance said.

“This transaction represents an attractive exit for CHAMP, taking Accolade from break-even in 2011 to EBIT of AUD$100m this financial year. The deal follows CHAMP’s divestment of Matthew Clark in 2015 to the recently embattled Conviviality plc, which generated an estimated 6.0x return.”