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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 think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

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