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National Wine inks merger deal with Dallas wholesaler

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Indianapolis-based National Wine & Spirits Inc. is joining forces with an out-of-state wholesale beverage distributor, presumably to better compete against a rival that won a bitter battle to sell liquor in Indiana.

National announced Wednesday morning that it will become Republic National Distributing Co. of Indiana after Dallas-based Republic National completes the purchase of “certain assets” of National.

Terms were not announced, but both companies are portraying the deal as an equal partnership.

The acquisition follows a November ruling from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to drop its opposition to Miami-based Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc.’s request to distribute alcohol in Indiana.  

Even though National controls nearly 60 percent of the Indiana market, it is one-tenth the size of Southern. Southern holds distribution agreements with alcohol manufacturers in 29 states, an advantage that National fears it will leverage to steal away its Indiana contracts.

National should benefit from Republic’s size. It is the second-biggest distributor of premium wine and spirits in the country, with operations in 18 states and Washington, D.C., according to the company’s Web site.  
 
National distributes wine and spirits in Indiana and Michigan, and employs more than 1,000 people in the two states. Republic will have about 7,000 employees following the deal with National.

Phone calls to National seeking comment on the deal were not immediately returned. But, in a written release, National Owner and Chairman Jim LaCrosse said Republic emerged, after a careful review of options, as the clear choice with whom to partner.

“[Republic] has a reputation for its integrity and its commitment to excellence in sales and customer service,” LaCrosse said. “Our combined organizations will ensure our new company will continue to grow.”

LaCrosse has called Southern “the 800-pound gorilla,” warning the commission that Southern would drive his company out of business in Indiana.

The commission’s decision to drop its opposition to Southern was surprising. Its unanimous ruling in favor of Southern reversed two previous rulings—also made unanimously—that denied Southern’s application for permits.

In 2008, the commission turned Southern away because the owners of the company dwell outside Indiana. That residency restriction, however, was effectively nixed in a Sept. 14 opinion by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

The next day, the commission denied Southern again, this time citing anticompetitive behavior in other states.

As part of its agreement with Republic, National announced Chief Operating Officer John Baker will remain in that position under the new structure.

Baker said in the announcement that the transaction will close as soon as the licensing process is completed.

The two companies had been in discussions for several months, Republic President Tom Cole said.

“The addition of Indiana to our organization continues to underscore our commitment to build [Republic] into the best network of wine and spirits wholesalers in America,” Cole said in the release.



 

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  1. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  2. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

  3. Good try, Mr. Irwin, but I think we all know the primary motivation for pursuing legal action against the BMV is the HUGE FEES you and your firm expect to receive from the same people you claim to be helping ~ taxpayers! Almost all class action lawsuits end up with the victim receiving a pittance and the lawyers receiving a windfall.

  4. Fix the home life. We're not paying for your child to color, learn letters, numbers and possible self control. YOU raise your children...figure it out! We did. Then they'll do fine in elementary school. Weed out the idiots in public schools, send them well behaved kids (no one expects perfection) and watch what happens! Oh, and pray. A mom.

  5. To clarify, the system Cincinnati building is just a streetcar line which is the cheapest option for rail when you consider light rail (Denver, Portland, and Seattle.) The system (streetcar) that Cincy is building is for a downtown, not a city wide thing. With that said, I think the bus plan make sense and something I shouted to the rooftops about. Most cities with low density and low finances will opt for BRT as it makes more financial and logistical sense. If that route grows and finances are in place, then converting the line to a light rail system is easy as you already have the protected lanes in place. I do think however that Indy should build a streetcar system to connect different areas of downtown. This is the same thing that Tucson, Cincy, Kenosha WI, Portland, and Seattle have done. This allows for easy connections to downtown POI, and allows for more dense growth. Connecting the stadiums to the zoo, convention center, future transit center, and the mall would be one streetcar line that makes sense.

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