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Family owned winery

When the senior executive team of one of Australia's most successful wine businesses asked the founders for equity, Juno Partners delivered an innovative solution that helped shareholders avoid dilution


Our client is one of Australia’s best known, high quality wine makers, a remarkable achievement given the company was foundered a little over 30 years ago.

Having devoted almost all their working lives to the business, the founders were now looking to step back from the day-to-day running of the company and enjoy the fruits of their labour.  

They developed a succession plan for their key executives that would see them gain greater responsibility and appointed an advisory board to provide supervision and a diversity of perspectives on strategic planning and performance.

The problem

Not long into the transition program the management team began calling for equity in the business.  

While the founders were not opposed to management holding shares in the business, they had a number of concerns including:

  • how much of the business should they make available to management;

  • how would it be valued;

  • would it be earned or gifted;

  • what would happen if an executive was to leave the business; and

  • what say would the new shareholders have over dividend policy or even the sale of the business?

These concerns were a major stumbling block and as time went by the lack of action began to cast a shadow on the otherwise very good relationship between management and shareholders.  

Management, in particular, were concerned that they would miss out on much of the value they were helping to create while the shareholders delayed.

The solution

Working with the founders, Juno Partners developed an innovative reward program that saw the management team rewarded in cash for the sustained gains in economic profitability enjoyed by the business. Crucial to the design was an ownership like payoff structure with an uncapped opportunity but with rewards settled over time and only if performance was sustained and the participants remained with the business.

Six years on and through the highs and lows of COVID19, Chinese tariff changes and on-going industry rationalization, both management and shareholders are highly satisfied with the program developed.

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