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US private equity fund set to snap up Majestic

Published:  03 July, 2019

Majestic’s retail business is close to being sold to US private equity house Fortress for £100m, according to Sky News.

Other potential buyers include Elliott Advisors, another US investment house, which bought a majority stake in Waterstones last year, and London-based OpCapita, current owner of the Football Pools and former owner of Comet and MFI.

Dan Jago has been approached by a number of bidders, including Fortress, to lead the business after any sale completes, it is reported.

Jago, formerly head of beers, wines and spirits at Tesco, was chief executive of Berry Bros & Rudd until earlier this year. He has also recently stepped down as chairman of the WSTA.

Founded in 1998, Fortress primarily focuses on the financial services, transportation, energy and infrastructure and healthcare sectors. It was acquired by Japan’s Softbank Group in 2017.

Majestic posted a 6.3% increase in group sales to £506.1m for the full year to April 2019, but a pre-tax group loss of £8.5m.

The company announced in March that it would be divesting its retail outlets and focusing on its online subscription business, Naked Wines.

Majestic bought Naked in 2015 for £70m. Naked’s founder, Rowan Gormley, was brought in to run both businesses.