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DBR-Summergate Split over Equity Stake
No matter how amicable the split was projected to be, the seven-year long relationship between Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Summergate ended because DBR wanted a stake in the Chinese importer's equity while Summergate was not prepared to sell any.
According to a decanter.com report, Summergate's managing partner Ian Ford said that the firm was not ready to sell any equity. "It was an unfortunate divergence of strategy", he said. DBR was keen to have a stake and control over their distribution in China while Summergate's 'vision of the future' was to remain independent.
"Clearly we took the decision not to sell any stake to DBR with full knowledge we were going to part ways. It was a long-considered decision," said Ford. They could not remain DBR's distributors having refused it a share in the company, he said.
Ford said they had had "a very successful partnership", and that DBR was "a fantastic brand", but he insisted "there is a lot of space for a lot of big brands in China."
Ford said Burgundy and Italy, especially Tuscany, were the two regions apart from Bordeaux that were set to take off in China.
"They are very interesting categories. The Chinese like Bordeaux because it has history, prestige, rarety and high prices. Italy and Burgundy fit that profile exactly," explained Ford.