Direct sells Virgin Wines

Direct Wines has announced that it had sold its Virgin Wines UK business to the management team.

The management which comprises: managing director Jay Wright, CFO Graeme Weir and marketing director Paul Adams is backed by two private equity funds, Mobeus Equity Partners and Connection Capital, for circa £14 million.

Direct Wines group chief executive, Simon McMurtrie, said: “The board of the Direct Wines group and our shareholders, the Laithwaite family, want us to accelerate our growth in the US, Australia and in our core Laithwaite’s Wine business in the UK and that is where we are now focusing our investment.

“Since Jay took charge of Virgin Wines in 2008, he and his team have done a tremendous job of growing the business in the UK and we wish them well as they embark on the next chapter of their Virgin journey,” he said.

“We continue to own Virgin Wines in the US and Australia where they play a key role in the development of our businesses in those two markets,” said McMurtrie.

Virgin MD Jay Wright said: “The business will continue to be managed from Norwich and Preston, where I am lucky to have strong and dedicated teams. “

In the year to June 2013, Virgin Wines had sales of £35m.