If you didn’t see today’s top news, the owners of Fiji Water announced their purchase of Landmark Vineyards in Sonoma Valley. Here’s a link to the news release.
I'm assuming they didn't really need to sell. It's a winery that gets high scores for its wine and seems to get relatively high prices too. If you don't need a job, it's easier to find one, if you don't need a bank loan it's easier to get one, and if you don't need to sell your winery, it's easier to sell.
It’s the second winery purchase for the owners of Fiji water. Justin Vineyards & Winery in Paso Robles was first. This is a company that’s been extremely successful in farming and with marketing. We’ll be watching closely to see how it approaches the wine business.
Stewart Resnick, the chairman of Roll Global, which owns Fiji and Justin, took part in an M&A panel during the North Bay Business Journal’s Wine Industry Conference back in April.
His advice that day was that winery sellers should make sure they’re reasonably well prepared with their information for buyers. He also said it’s always helpful to know how a winery being purchased can be transitioned. “Do you have people who can run the business without the founders?” he asked. “That’s very important and makes it an easier sell.”
“Also, don’t get yourself so leveraged that you need to sell,” Resnick said.
On getting loans for financing transactions, Resnick said, “If you don’t need the money, you always get it. When you need the money, it’s always very hard to get.”
“It’s the same thing if you need to sell,” he said. “You’re not going to get a premium price. If you don’t need to sell, then you can negotiate a lot better. “