Off-licence chain goes to private equity firm
Off-licence chain Unwins has been sold to UW Acquisitions, an investment vehicle of London-based DM Private Equity. The deal appears to put an end to plans by Oddbins' French owner Castel to acquire the 387-store chain, which would have seen it dominate the specialist wine market in the UK.

UW Acquisitions and DM Private Equity chairman Phillip Cook said: 'We are delighted to have completed the purchase of Unwins and we very much look forward to strengthening what is a nationally-known brand.'

Unwins has struggled to turn a profit recently. However, outgoing chairman Michael Lunn said: 'This agreement secures the future of Unwins and its employees. Unwins will continue to be a familiar presence on the high street, offering a competitive range of wines and other products. I would like to thank all those, especially Unwins staff, who have shown their commitment to the business over the past nine months.'

A sale of the£179 million-a-year business appeared to be on the rocks last month, when it emerged Unwins was raising cash via a sale and leaseback of property. It had converted a handful of stores to new fascia Phillips Newman, which it planned to roll out further if a sale was not completed.