Accolade Wines sold to Carlyle Group for A$1bn

05 April, 2018

An agreement has been made between 80% shareholder, the CHAMP III Funds (CHAMP) and 20% shareholder, Constellation Brands, Inc. (Constellation) to sell 100% of Accolade Wines to The Carlyle Group for A$1 billion.

In early 2011, CHAMP acquired two separate divisions from Constellation for A$290m and began the process of creating Accolade Wines.

CHAMP private equity CEO John Haddock, said: “We saw an opportunity, but the wine industry has long cycles so we knew we had to commit to a longer hold in order to realise that opportunity.

“The two divisions CHAMP acquired had separate strategies, separate management, operated out of Australia and the UK and were even on separate IT systems. Firstly, we had to bring the two divisions together to create one business.”

More than seven years later under CHAMP’s reign, Accolade Wines has become the largest producer of Australian wine, exporting to more than 140 countries and subsequently earning around A$350m in annual exports.

Haddock added: “We followed a deliberate strategy of creating a New World wine platform so that we now have wine making operations in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and Chile, while also premiumising our local offering through the acquisitions of Grant Burge Wines and the Fine Wine Partners portfolio, which included brands such as St. Hallett, Petaluma and Croser.”

CHAMP has also made significant investment in Accolade’s production facilities and following the completion next year of the new bottling and warehousing facility at Berri in southern Australia, the company will have the largest bottling, packaging and distribution centres in Europe and the Southern Hemisphere.

Accolade is now a leading Australia-based consumer goods company of a size and scale which puts it in the top five of its sector globally.

Haddock concluded: “Accolade represents the best of private equity ownership: taking the time to develop a business, investing in multiple areas of the business and orientating the company towards a growth opportunity that has many years ahead of it.”

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