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US: Knightsbridge completes Kirkland JV deal

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Knightsbridge Fine Wines has closed its acquisition of the Kirkland Ranch Estate Winery. Knightsbridge and the Kirkland Family each own 50% of the new Kirkland Knightsbridge subsidiary.

In conjunction with the closing, the assets of the winery, which has been independently appraised in excess of $40m, were transferred into the joint venture subsidiary, Kirkland Knightsbridge LLC. The financing for the joint venture was provided by Citigroup's subsidiary Travelers Insurance Company with a $20m secured loan, and the issuance of $10m of Knightsbridge common restricted stock at a value of $2.35 per share. Additional working capital for Knightsbridge and the Kirkland Ranch subsidiary was provided through the issuance of a $2m convertible debenture with an existing financial partner.

Details of the joint venture and financing agreements will be filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission shortly. The company expects to file expeditiously, which shall remove the fifth letter "E" which is currently on the company's stock ticker symbol.

Kirkland Ranch Winery, which is located in the heart of Napa Valley, is one of the largest contiguous properties in Napa Valley, CA. It has a capacity of over 1m cases of wine per year from its 56,000 sq ft facility. New wines from the Kirkland Family Estate will be launched in the summer.

In a statement, Kirkland Knightsbridge LLC president Larry Kirkland said: "This joint venture gives Kirkland Ranch Winery and my family an opportunity to live out our dream of building nationally recognized brands while offering Knightsbridge a first class winery to expand its global portfolio of wine properties and brands."

Knightsbridge Fine Wines chairman and CEO Joel Shapiro added: "We are thrilled to announce the completion of this joint venture with the fabulous Kirkland Ranch Winery. This joint venture encapsulates the Knightsbridge vision that brings together the best of brands, quality, location, structure and distribution to create a truly unique company."

Earlier this month, Knightsbridge announced the launch of a new collection of wines known as "Amer*Icon." The range will bear a print of an Andy Warhol picture, and will retail for around US$30.00.


Sectors: Wine

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