Majestic Wine says retail business attracts many suitors

FILE PHOTO: A general view of a Majestic Wine Warehouse in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, north-west England on June 13, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Yates/File Photo

(Reuters) - Majestic Wine said on Tuesday multiple suitors had shown interest in its retail business, a month after Britain’s largest specialist wine retailer said it was looking to sell the unit to focus online.

Majestic Wine shares were 3.6% higher at 275.5 pence at 0940 GMT.

Britain’s traditional store groups are facing the brunt of rising property taxes and sluggish consumer spending adding to competitive pressures from online rivals and discount chains.

Sky News reported on Monday that OpCapita, the former owner of the Comet retail chain, was among a group of investors looking to buy Majestic Wine’s store network for 100 million pounds ($126.9 million).

Analysts at Liberum said Majestic Retail and Commercial business is worth three to four times core earnings, valuing the unit between 110 million pounds and 130 million pounds.

“Anywhere between 75 million pounds and 100 million pounds should be considered seriously,” Liberum said, adding that the current valuation of the group was too cheap and it severely undervalues Naked Wines.

Liberum is “Buy” on Majestic Wine with a target price of 500 pence.

The wine producer and distributor said in March it would sell some assets, close stores and review its dividend to focus on its growth engine Naked Wines, which it acquired in 2015, as it seeks to fend off competition from discount markets and online rivals.

The company, which has over a million customers in Britain, the United States and Australia, plans to rename itself Naked Wines Plc.

Reporting by Samantha Machado; Additional reporting by Sangameswaran S; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier