Constellation to sell wine business to Ontario Teachers’ for $1.03 bln: Reuters

Constellation Brands Inc (STZ.N) said it will sell its Canadian wine business to the private equity group of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in a deal valued at about $1.03 billion (US$775.02 million).

Shares of the company, which also said it would buy five super and ultra-premium wines from Charles Smith Wines LLC, were up 2 percent at US$173 in pre-market trading, on pace to open at a record high.

The deals are part of Constellation’s strategy to focus on its premium beer and wine business in the United States, where it has made a number of acquisitions including Sculpin IPA-owner Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits.

Constellation said the sale, which includes the Jackson-Triggs and Inniskillin wine brands, is expected to close by the end of 2016.

The company said it would continue to own the Black Velvet Whisky and related production plant in Lethbridge, Alberta.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the deal on Monday.

Constellation got the bulk of its Canadian wine assets through its $1.23 billion acquisition of Vincor International Inc in 2006.

Seven of the company’s wine brands are among the top 20 in the Canadian market, Ontario Teachers’ said on Monday.

Constellation said in April it was considering taking part of its Canadian wine business public.

“We seized the opportunity to sell the entire business in a value-enhancing transaction when it presented itself,” Chief Executive Rob Sands said in a statement.

Constellation said it would acquire the wines from Charles Smith Wines LLC for about US$120 million.

Update: In a statementJane Rowe, senior vice-president, Teachers’ Private Capital, said “Constellation Brands Canada is an ideal addition to our consumer portfolio.”

“The company is already the undisputed market leader in the Canadian wine industry and has excellent potential for continued growth and value creation,” she added.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)

Photo courtesy of Constellation Brands Inc