Chris Mercer

Constellation Brands' great wine giveaway

By: Chris Mercer - 23 December 2010 15:03

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Has Constellation Brands just ditched Hardys and a whole array of other wine operations for a fraction of the price it paid for them? That certainly looks to be what has happened today.

It looks like Christmas has come early for CHAMP, the private equity company that is to pick up 80% of Constellation's Australian, South African and UK wine operations for just AUD290m (US$290.8m). Constellation said that the deal included "virtually all" of its Australian wine business, so it is hard to see how the deal would not include Hardys, which is, afterall, virtually all of its Australian wine business.

Here, then, comes the 'ouch' moment. Constellation paid a whopping AUD1.85bn to acquire BRL Hardy in early 2003. Yes, you read that right. 

It looks like the business is now being sold off at the sort of deep discount price that you might expect to find many Australian wines sold for in UK supermarkets. If that is the case, executives at Foster's Group must be looking on in horror.

We have so far been unable to contact Constellation to obtain more detail on the sale, but we'll keep you posted.

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