Wednesday 12 June 2019 4:32 pm

Activist investor Elliott launches audacious bid for Majestic Wine stores

Activist investor Elliot has launched a bid for 200 Majestic Wine stores as the retailer switches its focus from the high street to online.

US-based Elliot has pitted itself against private equity firm OpCapita and Fortress, the investment group owned by Japan’s SoftBank, in the sale, in which Majestic is hoping to recoup £100m.

Read more: Majestic Wine looks to sell of UK retail business

Majestic’s shares were up just over seven per cent at the time of writing.

The news of Elliott’s involvement in the stores sale was first reported by Sky News.

In April the company’s board appointed Rothschild bankers to explore a potential sale of its retail and commercial portfolio, which include around 200 stores.

The UK’s largest specialist wine retailer has said it wants to undergo a major rebranding under the Naked Wine brand which it acquired in 2015, as it sets its eyes on growth in the US amid growing challenges on the UK high street.

Elliott and Majestic both declined to comment.

Read more: Stores at risk as Majestic Wine plans ‘Naked’ rebrand

In January, Majestic reported 6.8 per cent revenue growth over the Christmas period, but warned that retail trading conditions remain tough.

The wine retailer, which said nearly a third of its sales come around Christmas, also boosted gross profit growth to 8.2 per cent.It said it remains on track to deliver full-year profit figures that are “broadly in line with current market consensus”.