Altria to sell winemaking division for $1.2B
Washington-based Ste. Michelle Wine Estates brands include Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14 Hands, Columbia Crest
Henrico County based Altria Group Inc. announced Friday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Ste. Michelle Wine Estates winemaking division for $1.2 billion to New York-based private equity firm Sycamore Partners Management LP in an all-cash deal.
The deal is expected to close by the end of this year. The Fortune 500 tobacco manufacturer acquired Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 2008 when Altria purchased U.S. Tobacco Co. Inc., a maker of smokeless tobacco products. Based in Washington state, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates bills itself as the nation’s third-largest wine company. Its brands include Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14 Hands, Columbia Crest, Erath, Intrinsic, and Patz & Hall.
“We believe the transaction is an important step in Altria’s value creation for shareholders,” Altria CEO Billy Gifford said in a statement, adding that the deal would allow Altria’s management team to better focus on its goal to “responsibly transition” adult smokers to a future of noncombustible tobacco products. “Ste. Michelle and its talented employees have built an outstanding portfolio of premium wine brands, and we wish them future success.”