Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, one of the largest wine companies in the U.S. and the pioneer of wine growing in Washington, is set to trade hands later this year.
In a cash deal valued at $1.2 billion, private equity firm Sycamore Partners Management will acquire the wine giant from its parent company, Altria, according to a statement provided to VinePair by Ste. Michelle.
Known for its AB InBev and Philip Morris USA holdings, Altria released a statement saying it will use the proceeds to buy back shares and fund its Moving Beyond Smoking campaign.
In exchange for the mountain of cash, Sycamore Partners will control the largest wine company in the Pacific Northwest, with vineyards in Washington, Oregon, and California that cover nearly 30,000 acres.
Ste. Michelle likens its portfolio of premium vineyards to a “string of pearls,” with each gem’s unique luster adding to the allure of the collection.
The company dates back to 1934 and distributes wine to more than 100 countries. Sales last year totaled $614 million, a decline of 11 percent compared to the year before, according to Impact Databank.
In response to the acquisition, David Dearie, CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, said of the investment firm, “Their commitment to partnering with us is a tremendous vote of confidence in the team and our magnificent estates and brands.”