Direct Wines has sold Virgin Wines to chief executive Jay Wright and his team in a £15.9 million management buyout.

Wright was joined by finance director Graeme Weir and marketing director Paul Adams in the buyout, which was financed by privare equity firms Mobeus Equity Partners and Connection Capital.

Virgin Wines, which was formed in 2000 and purchased by Laithwaites owner Direct Wines in 2005, will continue to be run from its hubs in Norwich and Preston.

Wright said: “’We now have the opportunity to grow the business independently, backed by two hugely supportive investors in Mobeus and Connection Capital.

“It is a dream come true to have completed the management buy-out of a business that I have such a passion for and I look forward to working with our new partners to deliver continued growth and genuine innovation.”

Jonathan Gregory, partner and chief investment officer at Mobeus, said: “We are delighted to back an excellent team and to be involved with the iconic Virgin brand.  We believe that the online wine market will continue to grow strongly and Virgin Wines will continue to mature as an independent business.”

Julian Carr, partner at Connection Capital, added: “’Virgin Wines is innovative in its approach to market which is testimony to a cracking management team who have turned the business around over the last five years and we look forward to working with Wright and the team to help the business achieve its growth plans.

“The majority of our clients enjoy a quality glass of wine as well as a quality investment. The unusual opportunity to combine both in the MBO of Virgin Wines saw it significantly oversubscribed and I am sure that many of our clients will become active wine customers.”

Direct Wines will continue to run Virgin Wines in the US and Australia.