Woolworths snaps up online wine retailer

Posted by Isobel Drake on 3rd February 2009

Woolworths has purchased upmarket online wine business Langton’s Fine Wines Auctions as they seek to further expand their online and liquor market presence.

Australia’s largest supermarket operator and owner of the Dan Murphy’s chain of liquor stores believed the purchase would offer an effective way to enter the online fine wine liquor market. “It’s a really good business, Dan Murphy’s has been a customer [of Langton’s] for quite some time,” a Woolworths spokeswoman told AAP. “It’s a really good fit for us in the fine wine and liquor market and it also gives us access to their online fine wine liquor channel.”

Langton’s owner, Stewart Langton, reported that he had received a number of offers for his business previously and believed the current offer would provide the ability for expansion over the years.

“In this case, the Woolworths approach was one that suited because it will enable me to grow my business in way that I want to,” he said, according to AAP. “As a small independent operator, it’s very difficult, so quite simply it was the right deal for me and my business.”

Mr Langton added that he would remain with the business, which would operate as usual until Woolworths has a complete grasp of its day-to-day operations. “[Woolworths] will look at the business over a period of time, the same way they did with Dan Murphy’s when that was purchased – for the first four years nothing was done, it was just allowed to operate and they learned to understand it,” he said. “And of course it went from five shops to 96 at the present time I think and with Langton’s they will look at it and discuss with me what I want to do.”The purchase price was reportedly in the vicinity of $13 million.