Majestic buys Naked Wines and names Gormley chief executive

10 April, 2015

Majestic has announced it will acquire Naked Wines for £70 million and has appointed the company’s founder Rowan Gormley as the combined group’s new chief executive.

The deal aims to boost Majestic’s e-commerce presence and open up the chance to expand into the US and Australia.

Majestic and Naked Wines will continue as independent brands, and Naked Wines’ senior team will remain with the business.

Majestic chairman Phil Wrigley said: “The acquisition of Naked Wines represents a transformational deal. The two businesses have significant strengths which are very complementary. Majestic’s distribution skills, a nationwide UK store network and customer service orientated knowledgeable staff, are a perfect fit with Naked Wines’ unique sourcing and selling model. 

“This acquisition will significantly accelerate the planned development of Majestic’s online capabilities while providing Naked Wines with a nationwide store network to allow a click and collect delivery option for its customers. In addition, this acquisition opens up attractive international markets, increasing our potential customer reach eightfold.

“I am delighted that Rowan has agreed to be the new chief executive for the enlarged Majestic. He has a fantastic track record as a successful businessman, innovator and entrepreneur in the wine industry and beyond. He has also assembled a deep pool of talent at Naked Wines with a similar culture to Majestic.”

Gormley said: “The combination of Naked Wines and Majestic provides the very exciting opportunity to build a world-class wine retailer, serving customers who are looking for inspiration that the supermarkets cannot provide. This is great news for the customers, staff and suppliers of both businesses and will ultimately create significant shareholder value.”

Majestic is expected to announce adjusted pre-tax profits of £21 million for the year to March 31.

Analysts at Investec have upgraded their rating of the business from “hold” to “buy”.

The group said in a statement: “Both businesses have much to gain from each other. We expect Gormley to look to unlock Majestic’s online potential, improve its customer relationship management, leverage its store network distribution and moderate store roll-out plans.”

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