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News Briefs for February 26, 2013

February 26, 2013

•Napa-based Crimson Wine Group has officially spun off from New York investment firm Leucadia National Corporation. As a result, Crimson is now a public, standalone wine company, set to trade under the symbol CWGL. Established as Leucadia’s wine unit in 2007, Crimson’s holdings include premium California brands like Pine Ridge Vineyards (based in the Stag’s Leap region), Chamisal Vineyards (Edna Valley) and Seghesio Vineyards (Dry Creek Valley), as well as Oregon’s Archery Summit (Willamette Valley) and Washington state’s Double Canyon (Horse Heaven Hills). Crimson president and CEO Erle Martin envisions the company roughly doubling in size—to a half-million cases and around $100 million in sales—by 2016.

•Chivas Regal is debuting three new limited edition offerings of its 18-year-old variant in the U.S. market. Entitled “The Drop,” the collection was created in partnership with Italian design firm Pininfarina. 1,500 bottles of the first expression are available in the U.S. at $140 each, featuring a blue metallic-finish outer case and a wood veneer. The second, of which 120 individually numbered bottles are available in the U.S. at $495 each, takes the same aerodynamic design cues a step further. It features a solid wood inlay and includes two Pininfarina-designed glasses. The third, Chivas 18 Mascherone by Pininfarina, is a seven-foot, four-inch piece—made of an oak internal structure clad in aluminum—that will be made to order by Pininfarina on request at $100,000 each.

•Central European Distribution Corp. (CEDC) is mulling a prepackaged bankruptcy as one option as it seeks to emerge from under its debt burden. The group announced today it was offering holders of convertible senior notes due in March and senior secured notes due in 2016 the opportunity to exchange those notes for CEDC common stock. The exchange offers, which expire March 22, could reduce CEDC’s senior note debt by $750 million. If the exchange plan fails to garner enough interest among noteholders, CEDC said it may choose to “effectuate (its financial) restructuring through a fall-back, pre-packaged Plan of Reorganization through a filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.” The group, which operates mainly in Poland and Russia, said its recent performance has been “positive” and is billing its proposal as an opportunity “to participate in the upside of the company’s turnaround.” CEDC ceded operational control to its top shareholder, Russian Standard chairman Roustam Tariko, in early January in exchange for up to $65 million in funding.

•Chef and restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten is teaming up with hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott International to open the Edition hotel in Miami. Slated to debut in early 2014, the hotel will feature a food court designed by Vongerichten with a deli, bakery, hot kitchen and raw bar, and there will also be an ice skating rink and a bowling alley. There is already an Edition hotel in Istanbul and there are plans to expand the brand to London later this year and New York and Bangkok in 2015. Schrager and Vongerichten previously worked together in 2011 when Vongerichten opened the Pump Room restaurant at Schrager’s Public Chicago hotel.


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