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Majestic Wine poised to sell off Lay & Wheeler

Majestic Wine is poised to sell off fine wine merchant Lay & Wheeler in the coming weeks as it continues discussions to sell its 200 Majestic retail stores, according to reports.

Investment bankers at Cavendish Corporate Finance have been told by Majestic to secure final offers in the next four weeks for Lay & Wheeler, said Sky News.

The wine merchant, founded in Colchester in 1854 and acquired by Majestic for £6m in 2009, is expected to fetch about £10m, with a number of private equity firms showing interest in the business.

The sell-off is part of plans to transform Majestic Wine’s business, selling off its entire 200-store retail estate and rebranding under the Naked Wines banner.

A number of private equity firms, including frontrunner Fortress Investment Group, Elliott Advisors and OpCapita, are believed to be vying to acquire the Majestic stores, with details of a final £100m deal likely to be announced imminently.

Majestic announced in April this year that it was looking into the potential sale of its UK store network as it planned to focus its energies on online sales and on the continued development of Naked Wines.

The company bought Naked for £70m in 2015, installing Naked Wines founder Rowan Gormley as its new CEO in what amounted to a reverse takeover of the group.

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