Suntory Group buys majority share in ASC Fine Wines

Months of rumors proved to be true as ASC Fine Wines announced today that, subject to approval by China’s anti-monopoly bureau, the Suntory Group will acquire a majority share of the company by purchasing the shares of Wine Holdings Gmbh – an Austrian holding company owned by Langes-Swarovski. ASC co-founder and CEO Don St. Pierre Jr will retain a share and his title. According to a press release, his father, Don St. Pierre Sr, “will officially retire from ASC at the close of this transaction.”

The press release states:

Suntory is one of Asia ’s largest private companies and one it’s most prominent beverage companies, with sales turnover of approximately Euro 11.5 billion. Suntory owns wineries in France and is one of Japan ’s leading wine importers and distributors. Suntory views ASC as a long-term strategic asset and plan s to fully support ASC’s future expansion plan s by offering greater access to lower cost capital for both organic growth and local wine related acquisitions, supply chain management know how, IT expertise and where it makes sense for ASC’s business, to seek economies of scale from common wine suppliers and cooperation with Suntory’s Premium Whiskey and Midori Melon Liqueur portfolio.

ASC has maintained a high profile over the past few years, not only due to year-long rumors of its sale, but also because of a series of ups and downs that included Don St. Pierre, Jr being held by Customs for nearly a month last year, his being listed as one of the most influential people in the global alcohol business, a restructing of the company, and the hosting of the first visit to China by wine writer Robert Parker, which culminated in a dinner on the Great Wall. The St. Pierres were also the subject of a lengthy story that recently appeared in the New Yorker.

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