Bargain Booze may be sold

14 February, 2011

Bargain Booze owner ECI Partners is considering selling off the 640-strong off-licence chain.

The private equity firm has appointed accountancy group KPMG to carry out a strategic review, including looking at a possible sale or refinancing of Bargain Booze.

Press reports have suggested the chain would be valued at around £90 million.

Bargain Booze has been with ECI since January 2006, when the firm backed a management buyout for £63.5 million.

Joint managing director Matthew Hughes told OLN ECI had always been planning to review its involvement in the business after five years, and noted that it was business as usual at the chain.

“It is far too early to comment. KPMG have been instructed by ECI to test the market to see whether the timing is right to sell or whether the timing is right to refinance the company. Nothing has happened yet and it is far too early to talk in terms of who might be interested.”

It is not thought that any financial problems lie behind the review, as Bargain Booze has performed very successfully over the past five years. Last month the franchise chain reported pre-tax operating profits of £13.2 million, up 17.3% from £11.3 million the year before.




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Rosé tinted glasses

I was asked recently what I thought the biggest change had been in wine fashion in the past five years. My answer was unequivocal: sales of pink wines. From being a niche that expanded and contracted with the sunshine, rosé has subtly but steadily become a stalwart of many merchants’ ranges, with Provence firmly at the top and asked for by name.

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