SWS to Acquire Minority Stake in the United Group
For Immediate Release                                                             

Contact:
A. Raymond TyeChairman of the Board of the United GroupTelephone: (781) 348-8000  
Harvey R. ChaplinChairman & Chief Executive OfficerSouthern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.(305) 625-4171

                             

The United Group of Massachusetts Announces Strategic Partnership
with Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.



SWS of America to Acquire Minority Stake in the United Group

United's Chairman of the Board A. Raymond Tye, Vice-Chairman & CEO Dave Roberts and Other Senior Executives at United Liquors Ltd. to Continue Their Senior Management Roles

Agreement Includes SWS of America's Acquisition of Hannah & Dunn LLC of North Carolina and Virgina and
United Beverages, Inc. of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont
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BRAINTREE, MA - February 15, 2005 - In a strategic partnership whose aim is to strengthen their respective wine and spirits distribution operations throughout key Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets, Mr. A. Raymond Tye, Chairman of the Board of The United Group of Braintree, Massachusetts, one of the nation’s prominent, multi-state wine, spirits and beer distributors, and Harvey R. Chaplin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., Miami, Florida, the country’s largest wine and spirits distributor jointly announced an agreement in which Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. will form a new partnership together with Southern taking a minority equity position in The United Group. The deal is effective on or about April 1, 2005.

According to Mr. Tye, the partnership agreement also includes Southern’s purchase of The United Group’s control state operations, Hannah & Dunn LLC of North Carolina and Virginia and United Beverages Inc. of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

Ray Tye. said: “I have known the Chaplin family and Southern’s senior executives for many years, and I am very excited at the prospect of our two great companies joining forces to do what we do best – sell the brands of beverage alcohol with which we have been entrusted; this, to the total satisfaction of our suppliers and our customers.” 

Harvey Chaplin said: “Our new partnership with United Liquors Ltd. is a landmark in the history of Southern Wine & Spirits of America. We are extremely proud that Ray Tye, Dave Roberts and the entire United team will maintain their management responsibilities going forward, fully collaborating with our team to ensure the success of this great partnership.”

Mr. Tye added, “This partnership agreement strengthens both our companies and assures not only job security of all our employees here at United, but also the long-term continuity of our operation.”

Dave Roberts, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The United Group, said, “Southern Wine & Spirits  is one of the very best distribution firms operating today and we are thrilled to join and work with Harvey and his son, Wayne, and their entire senior management and team members and look forward to making this historic partnership a total success for all of our employees and trading partners.”

Wayne Chaplin, President and Chief Operating Officer, said, “Our agreement with The United Group marks a critical step in our overall Northeast and Mid-Atlantic growth strategy, where our goal continues to be to bring a new level of service and professionalism to our on- and off-premise customers and our supplier partners alike.”

Mr. Tye said: “Under this agreement, I will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board and Dave Roberts as Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of United Liquors Ltd.  We have agreed with Southern that we will maintain our management oversight for United Liquors Ltd, United Beverages, Inc. and Hannah & Dunn LLC, while working closely with Southern Wine & Spirits of America’s Control State Management team.  We look forward to tapping into Southern’s unrivalled experience in both open and control state markets, as well as national accounts.”

Mr. Roberts added: “On behalf of our management team, including Jim Tye, Executive Vice President of the United Liquors Group-Control States and National Accounts, Mark Fisher, Chief Operating Officer of United Liquors Ltd. and Senior Vice President of the United Group, Lewis Gack, Chief Financial Officer, and our current management and team members, we very much look forward to making this partnership a tremendous success, now and long into the future.”

The United Group of Massachusetts is one of the nation’s pre-eminent multi-state wine, spirits and beer distributors.  The United Group serves customers in six open and control states including Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia and North Carolina.

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor, with operations in 13 states including: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 8,000 team members.


Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 (Archive on Tuesday, June 27, 2006)
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