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Michel Laroche and Jeanjean merge

Languedoc negociant and wine producer Jeanjean has merged with Michel Laroche in a €52m deal, creating one of France’s biggest wine companies.

This union – effectively the sale of Laroche to Jeanjean – will create the biggest quality wine producer in the country.

The new company will have 1,450ha of vines and a turnover of around €200m, around 50% of that figure coming from overseas.

Michel Laroche told decanter.com, ‘I am now 54, and don’t have a family succession in place for my company, and so have been looking for around two years for a solution.

‘Jeanjean is good fit, with strategies for the long-term that will safeguard all I have built up at Laroche.’

The newly formed company is due to be fully rebranded by the end of the year, with its new portfolio of brands run as separate subsidiaries within both companies.

These include Clos de l’Oratoire in Chateauneuf du Pape, Gassier in Provence, Rigal in Cahors, Antoine Moueix in Saint Emilion, Jeanjean in the Languedoc, Cazes in Roussillon, and Laroche in Chablis, Chile, South Africa and the Languedoc.

Jeanjean has agreed to pay around €24m for the company, and to take on the net debt of Laroche, currently estimated at €28m, bringing the total estimated value of Laroche to €52m.

The Laroche family will control 12.7% of the shares, the Jeanjean family 54.3% of the shares, with 26.2% being available for public investors.

Michel Laroche has agreed to remain as director for at least two years from the sale.

In a statement released to the Bourse, Jeanjean said it will launch a capital increase of €5-7m in order to boost the shareholders equity of the new entity.

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Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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