Marlon Abela, the owner of fine dining restaurants including Michelin-starred The Greenhouse in central London, has bought control of respected UK wine merchant OW Loeb.

OW Loeb‘s chairman, Chris Davey, said Marlon Abela has acquired a majority stake in the merchant, which specialises in wines from Germany, Burgundy and the Rhone.

He did not disclose financial details or the size of the stake acquired, but Davey said he would continue as chairman.
Patrick Headham, of Marlon Abela Restaurant Corp’s fine wine division, will join the merchant as managing director. The businesses will be run separately.

Abela has a personal fortune estimated at £325m in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List and has spent much of the last decade pursuing a career in hospitality.

He is known for his strong ambition, having announced prior to the 2008 financial crisis that he would open 30 restaurants within five years at Michelin-star standard. His Umu restaurant in London‘s Berkeley Square gained a Michelin star in 2005, just months after opening. He also owns two Micheline-starred The Greenhouse in London and Bistro du Midi in Boston, US.

He has also declared his passion for fine wine on several occasions and his current fine wine business has around 120,000 bottles. It consists of an array of top Burgundy and Bordeaux, with some of the oldest wines including three bottles of Leoville-Las-Cases 1928.

OW Loeb was founded in 1874 by Sigmund Loeb in the Mosel. In 1938, his son, Otto Loeb, set up the business in London, where he had moved to in 1934 to escape from Nazi Germany.

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Written by Chris Mercer