A source close to the deal that Robert Parker has struck with a group of Singapore businessmen to sell Wine Advocate have confirmed the main shareholder is Soo Hoo Khoon Peng, formerly of wine importers Hermitage.
Soo Hoo’s facebook page showing his visit to Baltimore
In an email seen by Decanter.com, the source says the two other shareholders in the deal are connected with Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.
The email was sent to blogger Vincent Pousson, who confirmed in conversations with the source that the main shareholder is Soo Hoo, a former director of Singapore wine company Hermitage.
He left Hermitage with little notice in November, and on 5 December, according to his facebook page, since removed, he was in Baltimore, close to Monkton, the home of Parker and the headquarters of the Wine Advocate.
The source also confirms the US$15m price on the deal, and that Soo Hoo will ‘command and control’ the Wine Advocate.
In the email it is made clear the group’s interest is in the commercial possibilities of the Wine Advocate.
‘The deal was brokered by two people who have absolutely no interest in wine and only commercial interest in mind,’ the email says.
‘One [is] working for Deutsche Bank and another working for Goldman Sachs. They gathered a group of investors to buy into TWA. Sell price around US$15m. RP probably pocketed US$10m and the other US$5m pocketed by the two who brokered the deal.’
The source then says the primary interest of the group is to ‘Allow advertising, allow independent reviewers to conduct public speaking events, presentations and seminars all for a fee, [and] spin off a Chinese edition of TWA’.
Robert Parker’s publicist was not available for comment at the time of going to press.
Written by Adam Lechmere