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China’s Summergate bought by Woolworths Liquor Group

China importer Summergate and its subsidiary Pudao Wines have been bought by Australia retail giant Woolworths Liquor Group for an undisclosed sum.

Summergate, one of China’s leading wine importers, was known to have previously been in talks with investors, as reported by Decanter.com in February.

As part of the new deal, Summergate chief Ian Ford is expected to stay at CEO, whilst he and co-founder Brendan O’Toole will remain as board members of the company.

‘Brendan and I are both very proud that a company of the calibre of Woolworths Liquor Group has chosen to acquire our business,’ Ford said in a statement.

‘I personally look forward to the years ahead continuing to lead and guide our fantastic group of people, striving to be the preferred partner to all stakeholders in the industry.’

Summergate, which counts the likes of Concha y Toro, Villa Maria and Chateau Musar among its brands, had previously said it was seeking outside capital intended for ‘major growth investments’ in the business and had insisted that its finances are sound.

Summergate subsidiary Pudao Wines is also expected to benefit from the deal. Pudao, which has retails stores in Shanghai and Beijing, recently started operating in Hong Kong though its e-commerce platform.

‘We are obviously thrilled at The WLG acquisition of Pudao Wines. We look forward to tapping into their vast experience of fine wine retail both in store and online as we craft a plan for the future,’ Pudao wines general manager Marcus Ford told Decanter.com.

‘We all firmly believe we have a fantastic product in Pudao Wines and WLG brings the resources, systems and know-how for us to turbo-charge the business in the years to come. All our plans centre around enhancing the customer experience both in-store and online and we can’t wait to get started on optimising our systems to that end. Watch this space because you are going to see and hear a lot more from Pudao Wines in the future.’

Woolworths Liquor Group is one of Australia’s largest wine and spirits retail groups, and owns a number of high profile companies, including drinks retailer Dan Murphy’s and fine wine auction house Langton’s, publisher of the Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine.

Written by Decanter staff

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