Virgin Wines

DEALS: Virgin Wines

Virgin Wines logo


  • Sector: Consumer, Retail and Leisure
  • Deal type: Capital Raising, Debt Advisory, Management Buy-Outs
  • Deal size: £15.9m
  • Year: 2013
  • Lead partner: Simon Davies


Simon Davies

Spectrum advises on the Management Buy-Out of Virgin Wines

Spectrum Corporate Finance advises management on the Management Buy-Out of Virgin Wines.

Mobeus Equity Partners and Connection Capital have provided a combined debt and equity package to support the £15.9m management buy-out of Virgin Wines, the major UK wine retailer.

Mobeus and Connection have backed the highly experienced, incumbent management team of Virgin Wines, led by CEO Jay Wright, CFO Graeme Weir and Marketing Director Paul Adams, to acquire the business from Direct Wines Limited. The Management Team was advised by Spectrum Corporate Finance, who introduced both parties to the deal, as well as securing a stock facility from PNC Business Credit.

The MBO comes at a time when the online wine market continues to expand, as many customers move to the convenience of purchasing their wine online. Virgin Wines is well positioned to grow in this market with a niche range of exclusive, boutique-quality wines and innovative customer loyalty schemes such as its WineBank scheme and its specialist wine plans, Discovery Club and JustREDS. Over 90% of the company’s wines are exclusive to Virgin Wines, sourced directly from producers and therefore unavailable from other providers.

Virgin Wines was founded in 2000 and acquired by Direct Wines in 2005. Jay Wright had previously built a successful mail order wine business, Warehouse Wines, which was acquired by Direct Wines in 2002. Jay, Graeme and Paul took over Virgin Wines in 2008 and merged it with Warehouse Wines in 2009. The management team has successfully grown the combined business to a turnover in excess of £35m.

“Spectrum were the perfect partner for Virgin Wines and we couldn’t have achieved our management buy-out without them. From the very start, right through to completion, they guided us through every aspect of the process, introduced us to the right investment partners and were calm, supportive and professional . We also developed great relationships with the team personally, meaning we had a lot of fun as well as working incredibly hard to achieve the outcome we all desired. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Spectrum to anyone who wants a top corporate finance team to help and support them through any acquisition process.” Jay Wright, CEO, Virgin Wines
“Spectrum were exceptional in their tenacity and creativity both in putting together the funding for the management buy out and in ensuring that the opportunity came back to the team in the face of trade competition. Simon was engaged with a high level of partner involvement which helped to address a number of technical and commercial issues. In particular we appreciate the effort that Spectrum made to recognise Connection Capital’s funding model and look forward to working with them on future transactions.” Julian Carr, Connection Capital
“We enjoyed working with Spectrum. Whilst it was a generally very friendly deal, there were many moving parts, more interested parties than usual with two Private Equity Investors, and the usual hiccoughs that beset the deal process. All were dealt with professionally, commercially and with good humour - deal management at its best.” Bob Henry, Mobeus Equity Partners