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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Reasons to be cheerful

I would like to think my outlook on things is generally optimistic. Perhaps that’s a natural consequence of working with something designed to give pleasure. But recently it has become increasingly difficult to ignore a creeping sense of negativity pervading the British wine trade.

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