Three weeks after LVMH Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton confirmed that it was putting Pommery Champagne up for sale, the French luxury-goods company announced today that it has sold the brand for an undisclosed sum to Vranken Monople, a Champagne and Port producer and distributor.
The final deal includes the Pommery brand, its site in Reims, its cellars, Champagne stocks and supply contracts. However, "the vast majority of the Pommery vineyards, which are among the best crus in the Champagne region" will remain the property of LVMH, said a company statement.
Pommery, founded in 1836, owns 741 acres of vineyards, including sites in seven grands crus villages.
"The vineyards are very valuable assets, and LVMH will keep them," emphasized LVMH spokeswoman Alison Allfrey. She said that the amount Vranken spent was "a significant premium to the price [LVMH] paid for the brand at acquisition," but was unable to confirm how much LVMH acquired Pommery for in 1991 from the company known now as Danone.
Earlier media reports estimated the deal would be valued between 150 million and 180 million euros (about $134 million to $161 million at current exchange rates). However, one source close to the deal said the final price is close to the 150 million euro mark.
The deal follows LVMH's report in March that its sales of Champagne in 2001 dipped 7 percent lower than in 2000.
Christophe Navarre, president of LVMH's wines and spirits division, said today in a statement: "This sale results from LVMH's desire to concentrate on its star brands and underlines a determination for the Wines and Spirits division to focus its resources on its premium brands, which have strong potential."
The company also owns Moët & Chandon (including Dom Pérignon) and Veuve Clicquot -- which were the top two Champagne brands sold in the United States in 2001, according to Impact Databank -- as well as Krug, Mercier and Ruinart Champagnes.
Pommery -- which produces a prestige cuvée called Louise, non-vintage bottlings and Pop, mini-bottles of Champagne to be drunk with a straw -- now joins Vranken Monopole's portfolio, which includes Vranken, Heidseick & Co. Monopole and Charles Lafitte Champagnes, as well as São Pedro Port
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