Buffett Strikes Deal with Horizon Wine & Spirits

FILED OCTOBER 26, 2010

Dear Client:

WSD has learned that Warren Buffett's McLane Company (parent company is Berkshire Hathaway) has entered into an agreement to acquire Horizon Wine and Spirits in Tennessee, according to sources close to the situation. It has operations in Nashville and Chattanooga, and is led by president and ceo Tommy Bernard. Sources tell us that Bill Anderson's First Beverage Group advised Horizon on the deal.

Calls and emails to Horizon were not immediately returned, but we understand that Horizon is in the process of notifying suppliers today.

We have written about McLane a lot over the past week upon learning that the company has applied for a license in three states: Virginia, Florida and Washington. Sources have told us that McLane has applied for a license in every state where it has a warehouse, but we have not yet been able to confirm that.

So this makes Horizon the second company Buffett's McLane has acquired and the third state it has entered since March. Recall Buffett made history when he acquired Kahn Ventures, parent company of Empire Distributors in Georgia and North Carolina, in March.

So what is Buffett's long term goal? It seems plausible that he would like to set up a network of wine and spirits distributors across the country, and compete with the big boys. Right now he is in the southeast with Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina, and we know he has a temporary distributor license in Florida. We have not been able to confirm if he has a license in South Carolina and Alabama, which are the other surrounding states. Are other southeast states next? And is he looking to expand nationwide?

We will attempt to answer these questions as the story develops...


Until tomorrow, Megan

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."

Edgar Allan Poe

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