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 â€™s largest private companies and one itâ€™s most prominent beverage companies, with sales turnover of approximately Euro 11.5 billion. Suntory owns wineries in France and is one of Japan â€™s leading wine importers and distributors. Suntory views ASC as a long-term strategic asset and plan s to fully support ASCâ€™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 ASCâ€™s business, to seek economies of scale from common wine suppliers and cooperation with Suntoryâ€™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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