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Private Company to Buy Wine Marketer Geerlings & Wade

Dana Nigro
Posted: September 30, 1999

Geerlings & Wade, a publicly traded direct marketer of wine and wine accessories, has agreed to be acquired by a private firm, Liquid Holdings, Inc. The deal is valued at about $40 million in cash.

Under the merger, shares of Geerlings & Wade common stock, which are traded on the NASDAQ market under the symbol GEER, will be converted to the right to receive $10 per share in cash. The deal, which is still subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2000.

Although Geerlings & Wade had not been up for sale, Liquid Holdings chairman Ronald Haft approached the Canton, Mass.-based company with an offer. "The share price we felt was too good to pass up," said Geerlings & Wade president Jay Essa. "We did it for our shareholders. It was a 40 percent premium over the 30-day trading price."

Founded in 1986, Geerlings & Wade sells wine through a catalog, wine clubs and its Web site, www.geerwade.com. It also owns 16 retail stores in 15 states, which help it to fulfill deliveries to consumers in 28 states. Essa said the company has more than 130,000 regular customers and wine club members.

Liquid Holdings was formed by Ronald Haft, an entrepreneur with a background in the beverage, retail and real estate industries. The company has received $15 million in equity financing and has a commitment from an unidentified financial institution for $35 million in debt financing.

Neither company revealed any future plans for Geerlings & Wade's operations.

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