Temasek's Heliconia Capital in the lead to acquire Wine Connection – sources

Breaking News 14 February

Temasek's Heliconia Capital in the lead to acquire Wine Connection – sources

The sale of Thailand-based restaurant and wine retailer Wine Connection has entered the final stage with Singapore-based buyout firm Heliconia Capital being the final bidder, said three sources familiar with the matter.

According to all three sources, the sale of Wine Connection, which is backed by UK private equity firm Actis, is still being finalized. Heliconia will be joined by Singapore-based retailer Little Farms in buying the asset, said the first two sources.

The sale of Wine Connection values the asset at around USD 100m, said the first source, while a fourth source said the asking price was based on a 7x EBITDA multiple.

This news service reported in May 2021 that the PE firm, which has a significant majority stake in the business, has awarded a sell-side mandate to EY, followed by another report in January 2022 showing that Actis had started sounding out investors.

The process, which started amid the shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic disruption, was slow moving but picked up pace in 2H22, said the second source.

Wine Connection used to be an investee of former emerging-market buyout firm Abraaj Group. Abraaj announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Wine Connection in November 2014. Actis became a shareholder of Wine Connection after it took over a Southeast Asia buyout fund of the now-defunct Abraaj, as per Mergermarket’s report.

Actis took over two buyout funds managed by Abraaj for the Africa and Southeast Asia markets, respectively, in July 2019. This resulted in Actis acquiring a portfolio of companies in Africa and Southeast Asia, the Wall Street Journal reported in September 2019, citing a document by Abraaj’s liquidators.

Wine Connection’s operations are mainly concentrated in Thailand and Singapore as well as a small presence in Malaysia, where it operates wine shops, restaurants and wine retail kiosks, as per its website.

Heliconia, which is backed by Singapore sovereign fund firm Temasek, has extensive portfolios throughout Southeast Asia, mainly in the tech, medical and healthcare sectors. Its previous investments in related assets include Singapore-based F&B group RE&S Holdings, restaurant group Jumbo and Kimly, one of the largest coffee shop operators in Singapore, according to its website.

Actis and Wine Connection declined to comment. Little Farms and Heliconia did not respond to requests for comment.

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