Altria Selling Its Wine Business

Sycamore Partners Management to buy Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Photograph: Shutterstock

RICHMOND, Va. — Altria Group Inc. is selling its Ste. Michelle Wine Estates business. Altria’s subsidiary, UST LLC, entered a definitive agreement to sell its Ste. Michelle business to New York-based Sycamore Partners Management LP, a private equity firm specializing in consumer, retailer and distribution investment.  The companies expect the $1.2 billion deal to close in the second half of 2021.

While Richmond, Va.-based Altria is known for its tobacco brands such as Marlboro, Skoal and On, it also owned Ste. Michelle and has equity investments in companies like St. Louis, Mo.-based brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev and Canadian cannabinoid company Cronos Group Inc.

“We believe the transaction is an important step in Altria’s value creation for shareholders and allows our management team greater focus on the pursuit of our vision to responsibly transition adult smokers to a non-combustible future,” said Billy Gifford, Altria’s CEO. “Ste. Michelle and its talented employees have built an outstanding portfolio of premium wine brands, and we wish them future success.”

Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, Wash., has more than two dozen brands including 14 Hands, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Northstar and Seven Falls Cellars.

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