UK: Thierry's new company Watermill Wines pledges to rebuild bridges
The new owner of Thierry's has promised to rebuild client links damaged by the company's near slide into collapse.
The wine importer, renamed Watermill Wines, has been bought by a group of investors led by corporate advisor KKVMS. The fresh investment will help prove the new outfit's financial viability and move it up the value ladder, Watermill chairman Richard Baizley told just-drinks today (1 November).
“When you've been in the position this company has been in for the past six months there are a lot of bridges we need to rebuild, a lot of trust we have to re-establish,” said Baizley, who represents KKVMS. “There are people out there saying, 'we'd love to do business with you but can you persuade us that you're going to be able to do business in the future'?”
Baizley said Thierry's hit trouble when its bank withdrew credit lifelines. He said the new investors, which include “wealthy individuals” in the wine industry, must now refocus the company on its core business.
“We want this business to be well-known in the mid to top range,” he said. “We don't want to be known as the guys who do only the GBP3.99 (US$6.44) a bottle in supermarkets. Our specialisation is a little bit higher up the food chain.”
Asked if that was where Thierry's was heading, Baizley said: “There's always a danger when you are struggling for cash to go for the low-hanging fruit. I'm not saying (Thierry's) was but there was a danger it might have been.”
Baizley added: “We're doing this as much for what we believe to be the potential of this business as for the existing business that its currently got.”
Baizley described the takeover as “lightning fast”, with the new company moving to smaller offices not far from Thierry's old headquarters near Southampton. However, a move away from the area “might be something we look at in the future”.
No staff cuts are expected as Thierry's had previously implemented redundancies, Baizley said. The existing management team of Dominique Vrigneau and Lindsay Talas will continue to manage the wine side of the business.
Baizley added that the company is expected to increase its portfolio.
No financial details of the takeover have been disclosed.
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