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Constellation sells Hardys, Kumala, Banrock Station

Constellation Brands has completed the sale of a host of popular wine names including Hardys, Kumala and Banrock Station to private equity company Champ.

The business, which includes substantially all of Constellation’s wine businesses in Australia, Europe and South Africa, has been renamed Accolade Wines following the completion of the A$290m deal.

Accolade has retained Constellation’s former management team, including head of wine operations for Europe and Australia Troy Christensen as its new CEO.

Constellation will retain a 20% stake in Accolade, receiving A$230m in cash from Champ – a sum which contrasts markedly with the A$1.85bn it paid for BRL Hardy alone in 2003.

The current acquisition also includes the UK’s best-selling South African wine brand, Kumala, as well as a 50% stake in leading UK on-trade distributor Matthew Clark.

‘I think everyone knows there are a number of challenges facing the wine industry, but it’s an important industry and we will be enthusiastic advocates for it,’ said Champ managing director John Haddock.

‘We see Accolade Wines as a company with strong fundamentals, a sound competitive position, a capacity to grow and an opportunity to re-invigorate its brands.’

Australia-based Champ has investments across a wide spectrum of industries, including food and beverages, mining services, media and agribusiness – but is not believed to have any previous experience in the wine industry.

Written by Richard Woodard

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