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Activist investor Elliott lodges bid for Majestic Wine outlets, media reports

Elliott has apparently lodged a bid for Majestic's 200-outlet estate, pitting itself against other potential buyers including private equity group OpCapita and Softbank-owned Fortress
Majestic wine store
Majestic confirmed it was considering a sale of its retail business back in May to focus more on its online business

US activist investor Elliott Advisors has muscled in on a £100mln auction for store outlets currently owned by AIM 100 booze retailer Majestic Wine PLC (LON:WINE).

According to Sky News, Elliott has lodged a bid for Majestic's 200 branches, pitting itself against other potential buyers including European private equity group OpCapita and Softbank-owned Fortress.

READ: Majestic Wine confirms it is considering sale of retail business

Majestic had confirmed that it was considering a sale of its retail business back in May as it looked to shift focus to Naked Wines – its online wine club-cum-crowdfunding platform, while also changing its official name to that of its online platform.

The move follows a desire from Majestic’s bosses to move away from the high street, which has been pressured in recent years by a cocktail of rising rents and declining customer footfall.

The firm is due to issue an update on its strategic plans on Thursday, with Majestic's chief executive Rowan Gormley expected to say a sale of its bricks-and-mortar estate is the preferred option.

However, with Elliot’s arrival investors are likely to expect an attractive price for the outlets.

It also comes hot on the heels of another hefty acquisition by Elliott, which bought American bookseller Barnes & Noble last week for over US$680mln and in April 2018 bought a majority stake in UK book store chain Waterstones.

The gatecrash bid sent investors clamouring for Majestic’s shares in late-afternoon trading on Wednesday, with the price jumping 8.3% to 315p.

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