Prcstnt takeover of McWilliam’s Wines shelved

Buyout led by newly formed asset manager Prcstnt has collapsed, with all of McWilliam’s assets and brands up for sale again.

A buyout of McWilliam’s Wines, one of Australia’s oldest wine brands, by private equity interests managed by Prcstnt Asset Management has fallen through.

Colliers International, the agent overseeing the sale, announced this week that the previously agreed deal would no longer proceed and that McWilliam’s will now be re-offered for sale.

On the block are the assets of the McWilliam’s Wines Group’s portfolio of vineyards, wineries, inventory and brands.

Assets include the Hanwood winery in the Riverina region of New South Wales, one of the largest wineries in Australia with an operational processing capacity of approximately 42,000 tonnes.

Also included are the Mount Pleasant winery in NSW’s Hunter Valley and the company’s brands, including McWilliam’s, McW and Mount Pleasant.

Prcstnt Asset Management – pronounced ‘persistent’ – is headed by executive chairman Charles Hunting. He was previously a managing partner at Chinese technology investor Tsing Capital.

The reasons for the deal collapsing were not disclosed, but Agri Investor understands that it is unrelated to concerns over Australia’s trading relationship with China. China recently imposed tariffs of up to 200 percent on imports of Australian wine over accusations of dumping, which Australian wine producers have strenuously denied.

Tim Altschwager, who is leading the sale on behalf of Colliers International, said in a statement: “We anticipate wide-ranging interest from major wine industry participants, private equity investors [and] high-net-worth individuals.

“In particular, existing wine industry groups will see an outstanding opportunity to add an iconic Australian name to their portfolios. McWilliam’s does not currently have an extensive international distribution network, which makes this a substantial opportunity for a buyer with existing overseas networks to ramp the business up.”

McWilliam’s Wines Group recorded revenues of A$97 million ($73 million; €60 million) and a 9LE (9 liter equivalent cases) sales volume of 1.3 million in the 2019 financial year.

The firm was placed into voluntary administration in January 2020 due to a changing wine market and a shortage of capital.