July 2, 2019 / 12:13 PM / 20 days ago

SoftBank's Fortress close to buying Majestic Wine's retail unit: Sky News

(Reuters) - Fortress Investment Group, which is owned by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), is the frontrunner to buy British wine retailer Majestic Wine's (WINEW.L) portfolio of about 200 shops, Sky News reported bit.ly/2RNtrWF on Tuesday.

Rival bidders and Fortress had approached former Berry Bros & Rudd and Tesco executive Dan Jago about running Majestic after any sale completes, Sky News reported, citing sources.

Fortress has been vying with Elliott‎ Advisors and OpCapita to buy Majestic, Sky News said.

Majestic declined to comment on the report.

The Naked Wines owner, which has been struggling with competition from discounters and online rivals, had previously said it was in advanced talks with multiple bidders over the sale of its outlets as it focuses on its online Naked Wines brand.

Majestic had also said that if it does not complete the sale over the summer, it would continue running its retail business independently through the December holiday season before restarting sale talks again in 2020.

The company’s shares turned positive after the report and were up as much as 3.1% at 265 pence.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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