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Glazer’s, Charmer, Wirtz To Explore Back-Office Collaboration

January 29, 2013

Three of the U.S. market’s top wine and spirits wholesalers say they’re exploring a bid to find efficiencies by collaborating on best practices and back-office operations. Glazer’s Distributors, Charmer Sunbelt Group and Wirtz Beverage are careful to note that the plan does not constitute a step toward merging their distribution businesses. Boston Consulting Group has been enlisted to help lead the analysis of the wholesalers’ finance, human resources, IT, supply chain and procurement functions, among others, with an eye toward identifying areas where shared operations could unlock value.

“This is not an exploration of a merger among the companies; instead it is an opportunity to find synergies and work together,” says Wirtz Beverage executive vice president Ed Callison, Jr. “We expect this analysis to take a number of months, at which time we’ll decide whether to pursue discussions further.”

Charmer, Glazer’s and Wirtz are the U.S. market’s third-, fourth- and sixth-ranked wine and spirits wholesalers in revenue terms respectively. According to Shanken’s Impact Newsletter, Charmer had estimated revenues of $4.6 billion last year, while Glazer’s revenues were an estimated $3 billion and Wirtz’s were $1.8 billion. While the wholesalers say they’re not now evaluating any cooperation beyond back-office functions, it’s worth noting that their U.S. distribution footprints are complementary, and without much overlap. Charmer is strongest in eastern markets like New York, New Jersey and Florida, while Glazer’s territory spans much of the nation’s heartland and Wirtz is a powerhouse in the upper Midwest and Nevada. Charmer and Glazer’s already have a 50/50 joint venture in Arizona, Alliance Beverage.

 

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