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News Briefs for June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013

Southern Wine & Spirits has prevailed in a long-running court battle against a wholesaler that encroached on Southern’s exclusive pacts covering more than 10 labels of Bordeaux wine and three well-known Champagne brands—Dom Perignon, Cristal and Veuve Clicquot—in the Nevada market. A Clark County District Court jury found for Southern on all 12 of its counts, which involved such claims as unfair competition and civil conspiracy. The jury awarded Southern $199,000 in actual damages and will meet again next week to determine an amount for punitive damages, while awarding an additional $69,000 to a U.S. marketing arm of Cristal producer Louis Roederer. It’s uncertain whether the defendants, Transat Trade Inc. and Chateau Vegas Wine Inc., will also have to pay Southern for court costs. Southern’s Nevada senior managing director, Larry Ruvo, testified that the company’s legal bills in the 11-year case amounted to roughly $6.5 million.

•Truett-Hurst, Inc. has announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 2.7 million shares of Class A common stock at $6.00 per share. The shares will be listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market beginning on June 20, 2013 and will trade under the symbol “THST.” The company, a fast-growing private-label wine producer that supplies prominent retail chains like Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Total Wine & More, has steadily reduced the share price since initially announcing plans for its IPO. In early April, Truett-Hurst projected a per-share price of $11-$15 for 2.25 million Class A common shares. Later that month, the company revised the price to $8.50-$10.50.

•Molson Coors has won a temporary injunction against SABMiller’s Miller Brewing Co., preventing Miller from prematurely ending its license agreement with the brewing giant in Canada, reports Reuters. The move follows Miller’s February decision to end its partnership with Molson Coors Canada, after alleging that Molson had failed to adequately promote the Miller portfolio in the Canadian market. In an effort to prevent the early termination, Molson filed a lawsuit against Miller Brewing, and the pair are expected to go to trial in December. Molson Coors and SABMiller are also aligned in the U.S. under their MillerCoors joint venture.

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