The UK unit of online retailer Virgin Wines has been acquired by its management team from Direct Wines for around GBP14m (US$22.4m). 

Virgin Wines' UK MD Jay Wright, finance director Graeme Weir and marketing director Paul Adams have bought the business, backed by private equity groups Mobeus Equity Partners and Connection Capital, it was announced today (12 November). Wright said he is “grateful to be given this new opportunity of developing the business further independently”. 

The business will continue to be managed from Norwich and Preston, Wright confirmed. 

In the year to June 2013, Virgin Wines' UK unit sales totalled GBP35m.

Simon McMurtrie, Direct Wines' group chief executive said his company is now looking to ramp up growth in the US, Australia and in its core Laithwaite’s wine business in the UK. 

He added: “We continue to own Virgin Wines in the US and Australia where they play a key role in the development of our businesses in those two markets.”

Direct Wines, which began in 1969 as Bordeaux Direct, has around 1,000 employees worldwide and 11 UK shops. In the UK, it handles distribution for Laithwaite's, The Sunday Times Wine Club, Averys, British Airways Wine Club, Nectar Wine Club and the Telegraph Wine Club.