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London merchant Fine & Rare on the market

London fine wine merchant and broker Fine & Rare is for sale with an estimated price of £35 to £40 million.

The company, which was established in 1994 by Mark Bedini and Bud Cuchet, has appointed London-based Cavendish Corporate Finance LLP to handle the potential sale of the company.

‘Earlier on this year we received some approaches, which were not particularly serious but it got us thinking,’ CEO Bedini said.

‘The shareholders decided it was a good time to get a return on our investment in the business.’

The latest accounts in Companies House show the company is in sound financial shape.

Its turnover, to the end of 2009, was £27.98m, up from £27.1m for the previous year, with an operating profit of £1.1m, up from £650,000 in 2008.

F&R’s net funds also increased sharply in 2009, rising to £1.7m compared to £700,000 the previous year.

Bedini is predicting that turnover will nearly double in 2010, jumping to between £47 and £48m.

It is thought that Fine & Rare may attract bids around £35 to £40m.

Fine & Rare mainly offers a brokerage service, although it has between £2.5-3m stock for immediate delivery.

Bedini said UK private customers are the main growth area.

He added that he expected the sale to take some time, and that he and Cuchet were ‘still fully committed to the business’ and would expect to stay on after the sale.

Written by Jim Budd

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