Does a wine business by any other name look more attractive to investors? Foster's Group Ltd., the Australian brewery and global wine producer, announced Wednesday that it is renaming its wine division. The new Treasury Wine Estates is still a part of Foster’s, though it's unclear for how long.
"We want to signal a cultural change within our global wine business, one that is focused on honoring our unique assets," says
There is a rich history, with 30,000 acres, 20 wineries and 50 brands from Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy and California, including icons like Penfolds, Beringer and Chateau St. Jean. The company has struggled in recent years, however, especially in the recession, and executives announced in May that they plan to split the wine and beer divisions into separate companies next year. One or both could be sold. Analysts believe Treasury could be worth between $1.25 billion and $3.57 billion.
Brauer and other executives were quick to say that the name change is not part of a plan to sell the wine division. "It does not signal any impending decisions as we continue to evaluate the demerger of our wine business," says Brauer. "The new name and identity is part of our evolution as a global wine business, and that is the only implication at this time."
Diageo, the world's largest drinks company, announced Wednesday that it is selling the Bordeaux wine firm Barton & Guestier to Castel Frères for an undisclosed sum. The move is a further withdrawal from Bordeaux for the company's American import arm Chateau & Estates, which had been managing Barton & Guestier. B&G produces a wide range of wines from Bordeaux, but also the Loire Valley, Beaujolais, Burgundy and Rhône. Castel, France's largest wine firm, acquires B&G's brand, inventory and Chateau Magnol.
Diageo announced earlier this year that it was reviewing its wine operations. Chateau & Estates has largely ended its Bordeaux imports, and Diageo wants to focus on core brands it owns, including Sterling and Beaulieu Vineyards in California. Last month, Diageo sold 2,000 acres of its California vineyards to a real-estate corporation for $269 million but with an agreement to lease the land back for 25 years.
Alex Andrawes — USA — July 23, 2010 11:41am ET
Larry Lascola — Healdsburg, CA, USA — July 26, 2010 2:36pm ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions