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Majestic Wine to sell retail business to asset manager Fortress

Majestic Wine PLC has agreed to sell Majestic Wine Warehouses Ltd., or MWWL, and Les Celliers de Calais S.A.S. to CF Bacchus Holdings Ltd., a unit of Fortress Investment Group LLC, for approximately £95 million, according to an Aug. 2 release.

The two units comprise Majestic retail and commercial businesses, the British winemaker said.

The company also plans to sell a freehold property previously owned by MWWL to an independent third party. This transaction will generate proceeds of £5 million, subject to approval of a planning application for redevelopment.

Majestic Wine intends to use the proceeds of the sale to pay down its debt and to invest in the growth of its Naked Wine online wine retail business. It also plans to return £3.8 million to shareholders through a special dividend of 5.2 pence per share.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, and the satisfactory transfer of MWWL's bonding arrangements.