Despite these exciting prospects, the precise ownership structure after the initial public offering has yet to be resolved. CHAMP’s move to sell down its 80% holding in Accolade Wines after six years comes as its new leadership team, headed by chief executive and chief investment officer John Haddock, closes in on a $1 billion raising for its latest fund.
GIC—Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund—numbers among the handful of institutions that have already committed funds to the new vehicle. However, it is understood that a successful exit from Accolade Wines was seen as pivotal to CHAMP’s fundraising efforts.
CHAMP has enlisted a team of advisers to usher Accolade Wines on to the boards. The firm hired investment banks Citigroup and Morgan Stanley to jointly oversee the IPO, and hired Reunion Capital Partners to provide strategic counsel on the deal. A third JLM, which reliable sources believe will be Credit Suisse, will be appointed next year.
The Australian corporate law firm Gilbert + Tobin and Max Billingham’s Blackpeak Capital will also play key roles in the IPO.
Accolade Wines is the largest wine company by volume in Australia and the United Kingdom, with a portfolio of lucrative brands like Hardys, Houghton, and Kumala. It is also the fifth largest wine company in the world and sells its products in over 80 countries.
CHAMP Private Equity wants to raise $600 million from public market investors when it returns Accolade Wines to the Australian Securities Exchange next year. The mooted offer size will leave the buyout firm with approximately 30% of the listed entity, which is expected to list in the first half of 2017 at a market capitalisation of over $1 billion.