SPACs—short for a special purpose acquisition company that is publicly traded and has no other assets other than cash–are fairly new to both the market and the wine industry. Few major wine entities, with the exception of large companies like Pernod Ricard and LVHM, have historically gone public in the wine sector.
The bulk of wineries are still family and privately owned and many trade on the mystique of being small, close-to-the-vest operated and managed businesses. However, that standard is evolving and the use of shell companies to acquire established multi-brand, wine entities is growing.
Case in point is Vintage Wine Estate’s (VWE) upcoming mid-May public offering with the Toronto-based Bespoke Capitol Acquisition. It doesn’t hurt that former Diageo CEO Paul Walsh heads up Bespoke. The deal is presumed to give VWE more leverage to buy brands. “The current investment landscape offered an opportunity to accelerate our growth and we believe others may follow suit. Duckhorn just filed an S-1, announcing its intention to follow us in going public,” shares Terry Wheatley, the president of the Santa Rosa, California-based VWE.
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