UK high street wine retailer Oddbins has been sold to the Ex Cellar, the specialist food and wine retail group.

Neither party disclosed a sum for the deal, which Ex Cellar announced yesterday (4 August). Its challenge will be to rehabilitate the Oddbins chain, which struggled to improve results under its previous owner, French firm Castel - which also owns the Nicolas wine retailer.

Talks about a potential sale had been ongoing for about a year, a reliable source close to the deal told just-drinks today.

"The original approach [to Castel] was made by Ex Cellar, which was looking to buy a chain of shops, and they were pleased to be offered the lot," the source said, adding the deal involved around 150 stores and was thought to be worth "a lot less than GBP57m (US$111.4m)".

Ex Cellar founder Simon Baile, also the son of a former Oddbins managing director, will head the new Oddbins operation. The group's senior management team, including HR manager Ayo Akintola, will remain in place.

Baile said following the deal: "This is an exciting opportunity for us - Oddbins is a renowned name on the British high street. Our retail background and my knowledge of what used to make Oddbins great will help drive the passion and innovation back into this business."

He said Ex Cellar, which operates two direct wine sales stores in Paris and Ashstead, would begin a short review of Oddbins' structure.