©Chateau Ste. Michelle
Altria has entered into an agreement to offload its US-based Ste. Michelle Wine Estates business to private equity firm Sycamore Partners Management for approximately $1.2 billion.
Ste. Michelle produces and sells premium wines under various labels including Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14 Hands and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. The company also imports and markets Antinori and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte brand products in the US.
The sale of the Washington winery forms part of Altria’s efforts to focus on its core tobacco portfolio, as it looks to transition adult smokers away from cigarettes to potentially less harmful choices.
“Ste. Michelle and its talented employees have built an outstanding portfolio of premium wine brands, and we wish them future success,” said Billy Gifford, Altria CEO.
David Dearie, Ste. Michelle’s president and CEO, added: “The Ste. Michelle leadership team and I look forward to working with the team at Sycamore Partners and believe we are well-positioned to drive the next phase of our growth.”
The private equity firm specialises in consumer, retail and distribution investments.
Altria, which owns major cigarette brands such as Marlboro, expects to use the net proceeds from the transaction for additional share repurchases, subject to board of directors approval.
In addition to its tobacco portfolio, Altria also holds equity investments in AB InBev and Canadian cannabinoid company Cronos Group.
The deal is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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