16 Best E-Commerce Stocks to Buy in 2021

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Yahoo Finance 09 July, 2021 - 09:25am 16 views

From grocery shopping to education, there's nothing that the coronavirus pandemic hasn't caused a change in. According to the Wall Street Journal, as shopping trends rapidly shifted to focus on online shopping and e-commerce, investor attention began to be drawn to the e-commerce sector as well. The above isn't entirely surprising considering how the number of people staying home to protect themselves from the risk of infection steadily increased all through last year. As every other person began downloading mobile apps for local grocery stores and delivery services, online retail sales in the US rose to about $200.7 billion halfway through 2020 alone, a figure representing a 44% increase from mid-2019, as per the Commerce Department. Hence, the market for e-commerce began expanding to include more than just your typical tech-savvy teen demographic. Today, a large number of people are reliant on e-commerce, as over 2 billion people in the world are expected to be among the online shopping demographic in 2021.

A forecast from GroupM, a media-buying giant, mentioned that the global market for e-commerce would rise to about $7 trillion by 2024, and $10 trillion by 2027. This trend can be explained by the idea that habits tend to stick, as Jay Pattisall, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., put it. Pattisall mentioned that many behaviors learned during the pandemic, especially those implemented because of stay-at-home restrictions, are expected to result in the continuation of our reliance on e-commerce. Additionally, another Wall Street Journal report this June has mentioned that fulfillment companies will continue to invest in the e-commerce industry's growth by betting on the pandemic-induced shopping habits to continue in the long run. A survey of over a thousand consumers conducted by AlixPartners LLP this March and April revealed that at least a third of the shoppers in the US would continue shopping online, while about 25% would use online shopping for groceries at least. E-commerce also made up about 13.6% of retail sales in the US in the first quarter of 2021, and large-scale logistics operators and retailers are continuing to invest in IT and automation to continue the e-commerce supply chain for their consumers, according to Kraig Foreman, the president of e-commerce for DHL Supply Chain North America.

The steady growth of e-commerce in the US and globally has resulted in millions of dollars being poured into not only technology to support the e-commerce trends, but also e-commerce companies like Shopify, Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), Amazon, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY). Although a Bloomberg report from this June has pointed out that retail sales in the US have begun falling since their highs in 2020, and up till April this year, the growth of e-commerce sales is expected to remain at higher levels than 2019, albeit more moderate than the eye-popping increases in 2020. As such, the retail and e-commerce industries can be expected to remain lucrative investment opportunities in the long run as well. Hence, we have compiled a list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021. The stocks on our list are selected on the basis of hedge fund sentiment, fundamentals, analysts' ratings, and growth potential based on core business strengths.

Because of the pandemic, the entire hedge fund industry is feeling the reverberations of the changing financial landscape. Its reputation has been tarnished in the last decade, during which its hedged returns couldn’t keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. On the other hand, Insider Monkey’s research was able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 124 percentage points since March 2017. Between March 2017 and May 28th, 2021, our monthly newsletter’s stock picks returned 206.8%, vs. 91.0% for the SPY. Our stock picks outperformed the market by more than 115 percentage points (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that significantly underperformed the market. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017, and they lost 13% through November 16th. That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to. You can subscribe to our free newsletter on our homepage to receive our stories in your inbox.

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Without further ado, let's look at the 16 best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

Jumia Technologies AG (NYSE: JMIA) is an e-commerce platform operating in Africa, Portugal, Germany, and the UAE. The company's platform includes a marketplace that connects buyers to sellers and also enables the shipment and delivery of packages. The company ranks 16th on our list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

This May, Jumia Technologies AG (NYSE: JMIA) was reportedly still rising since the company's reported losses in Q1 began to decrease, as operating losses fell by 23%, while adjusted EBITDA losses fell by 24%. In the first quarter of 2021, Jumia Technologies AG (NYSE: JMIA) brought in $33.26 million in revenue, up 5.1% year over year but missing estimates by $10.1 million. The stock has gained 437.52% in the past year, while the company has a gross profit margin of 68.86% as well.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 16 hedge funds held stakes in Jumia Technologies AG (NYSE: JMIA) worth roughly $123 million. This is compared to 13 hedge funds in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $241 million. Like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), and Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), Jumia Technologies AG (NYSE: JMIA) is a good e-commerce stock to invest in.

ContextLogic Inc. (NASDAQ: WISH) is a mobile e-commerce company operating in Europe, North America, South America, and internationally. The company's Wish platform is responsible for connecting users to merchants and providing marketplace and logistics services to merchants. It ranks 15th on our list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

This June, ContextLogic Inc. (NASDAQ: WISH) was up 18% in light of the meme stock rally, and it has also been leading consumer stock gainers. The stock is ever popular because of the attention it receives on Reddit's WallStreetBets forum and has also surged because of its two-year partnership with PrestaShop, another e-commerce platform, announced on June 14th. In the first quarter of 2021, ContextLogic Inc. (NASDAQ: WISH) had an EPS of -$0.13, beating estimates by $0.01, while its revenue was $772 million, beating estimates by $28.94 million. The company has a gross profit margin of 60.81% and the stock has gained 44% in the past month.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 25 hedge funds held stakes in ContextLogic Inc. (NASDAQ: WISH) worth roughly $297 million. This is compared to 24 hedge funds in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $348 million. Like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), and Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), ContextLogic Inc. (NASDAQ: WISH) is a good e-commerce stock to invest in.

Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) is an online retailer operating in the US. The company operates through Retail, tZERO, and Medici Ventures. It offers a range of products including furniture, home decor, kitchen, and dining items, among others, and ranks 14th on our list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

This June, Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) was seen to be gaining in light of reports that tZERO, the crypto trading platform, would be sold. The company is reportedly looking for a strategic partner, according to Coindesk, to either take over tZERO or make it public through a SPAC. The stock also received positive responses after announcing that its revenue beat consensus estimates for the first quarter. In the first quarter of 2021, Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) had an EPS of $0.33, beating estimates by $0.12, while its revenue of $659.86 million was up 87.69% year over year and beat estimates by $77.51 million. The company has a gross profit margin of 22.96% and the stock has gained 82.53% in the past 6 months and year to date.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 31 hedge funds held stakes in Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) worth roughly $168 million. This is compared to 24 hedge funds in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $157 million. Like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), and Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) is a good e-commerce stock to invest in.

Chewy, Inc. (NYSE: CHWY) is an e-commerce business operating in the US. It offers pet food, treats, supplies, and medications, alongside other pet-related products through its retail website, chewy.com. The company ranks 13th on our list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

On June 10th, Chewy, Inc. (NYSE: CHWY) offered guidance for the year with expected full-year revenue of $8.9 billion to $9 billion. The company has also announced its partnership with Freshpet on vital brand products for this year and was among the gainers in the retail sector last month. In their fiscal first quarter of 2022 report, Chewy, Inc. (NYSE: CHWY) had an EPS of $0.09, beating estimates by $0.11, while its $2.14 billion revenue, up 31.69% year over year, beat estimates by $6.08 million. It also has a gross profit margin of 26.53% and the stock has gained 71.28% in the past year.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 32 hedge funds held stakes in Chewy, Inc. (NYSE: CHWY) worth roughly $433 million. This is compared to 38 hedge fund holders in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $728 million. Like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), and Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), Chewy, Inc. (NYSE: CHWY) is a good e-commerce stock to invest in.

Nelson Capital Management, an investment management firm, mentioned Chewy, Inc. (NYSE: CHWY) in its fourth-quarter 2020 investor letter. Here's what they said:

“One of our investment themes over the last several years has been the “humanization of pets,” which refers to the increasing amount of time and money that people are devoting to their animals. This theme has become even more evident during the pandemic, as many families and individuals have adopted pets while spending more time at home. Today, more than 85 million US households have pets. In 2015, roughly 7% of pet products in the U.S. were bought online. By 2019, that number had increased to 22%. Moreover, the pandemic has caused pet parents, new and experienced alike, to sign up for delivery of pet supplies in order to avoid trips to physical stores. 72% of pet owners made at least one online purchase for their pets in the past 12 months and 39% of those were subscription-based purchases.

Chewy (tkr: CHWY) is the largest pure-play pet “e-tailer” in the world, offering “the personalized service of a neighborhood pet store combined with the convenience and speed of e-commerce.” The company was founded in 2011 and was bought by PetSmart in 2017, for $3 billion. In June, 2019, Chewy went public. All of its sales are currently U.S.-based. The company has co-headquarters with one facility in Dania Beach, Florida and one in Boston, Massachusetts, and employs about 12,000 people. Chewy offers a selection of high-quality pet food, treats, supplies, and pet healthcare products." (Click here to see the full text)

Wayfair Inc. (NYSE: W) is an American retailer also operating internationally and operating in the e-commerce business. The company has approximately 22 million products to offer, under the home sector and from various brands. It ranks 12th on our list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

This April, stay-at-home stocks began gaining in light of the CDC's decision to stop the use of the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) vaccine, and Wayfair Inc. (NYSE: W) was among the gainers. In the first quarter of 2021, Wayfair Inc. (NYSE: W) had an EPS of $1, beating estimates by $0.71, while its revenue was $3.48 billion, up 49.25% year over year and beating estimates by $88.51 million. The company's gross profit margin is 29.66% and its stock has gained 30.04% in the past 6 months and year to date.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 37 hedge funds held stakes in Wayfair Inc. (NYSE: W) worth roughly $4.01 billion. This is compared to 40 hedge fund holders in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $2.84 billion. Like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), and Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), Wayfair Inc. (NYSE: W) is a good e-commerce stock to invest in.

Vulcan Value Partners, an investment management firm, mentioned Wayfair Inc. (NYSE: W) in its first-quarter 2021 investor letter. Here's what they said:

“During the quarter, Wayfair Inc. was a material contributor to the portfolio after reporting strong earnings, increased revenue, positive operating margins, and strong free cash flow generation. The company’s long-term trajectory is positive, and we are pleased to own this business.”

EBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) operates an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers worldwide and includes its website and mobile applications. The company ranks 11th on our list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

This June, eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) announced the expansion of its Authenticity Guarantee service to now include handbags, while its deal with Adevinta was also closed, leaving the company the largest shareholder in Adevinta with a 44% stake and 33.3% voting shares, alongside two board seats. The stock was also on the rise last month after the CEO of eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) mentioned interest in NFTs and cryptocurrency for payments. On June 24th, the company also announced its move to offload its 80% stake in its Korean businesses to Emart, by the end of this year. In the first quarter of 2021, eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) had an EPS of $1.09, beating estimates by $0.02. Its revenue was $3.02 billion, up 27.34% year over year and beating estimates by $53.21 million, and it has a gross profit margin of 74.98%. EBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) has gained 35.53%% in the past 6 months and year to date.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 51 hedge funds held stakes in eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) worth roughly $3.76 billion. This is compared to 53 hedge fund holders in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $4.01 billion.

Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY) operates online marketplaces to connect buyers and sellers in the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, France, and India. The company's platforms include Etsy.com and Reverb.com. It ranks 10th on our list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

On June 28th, Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY) confirmed its acquisition of the marketplace Elo7 for about $217 million, while earlier in the same month the company had also confirmed another acquisition of Depop, a marketplace for fashion, brought in with $1.625 billion in cash. After receiving news of the Depop acquisition, Cathie Wood's ARK Invest bought yet another 157,181 shares of the stock, doubling its previous stake. Atlantic Equities has also begun to cover Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY) with an Overweight rating and a price target of $200 with 20% upside potential, in light of the firm's positive response to the stock's performance.

In the first quarter of 2021, Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY) had an EPS of $1.07, beating estimates by $0.16. Its revenue was $550.65 million, up 141.45% year over year and beating estimates by $20.28 million. The company has a gross profit margin of 74.36% and the stock has gained 15.94% in the past 6 months and year to date.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 53 hedge funds held stakes in Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY) worth roughly $1.64 billion. This is compared to 56 hedge fund holders in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $1.96 billion. Like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), and Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY) is a good e-commerce stock to invest in.

Polen Capital, an investment management firm, mentioned Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY) in its first-quarter 2021 investor letter. Here's what they said:

Etsy continued to be a top contributor in the Portfolio during the first quarter. Etsy experienced record levels of demand in 2020. Throughout the beginning of this year, the business has continued to see accelerated growth trends. The company’s recently announced fourth quarter results provided numerous data points that highlight Etsy’s success in both broadening and deepening the relationship it has with buyers and sellers on its platform. In fact, Etsy now stands as the fourth largest e commerce site in the U.S. Repeat buyers have grown nearly 100% year-over-year, despite mask sales, which grew rapidly at the onset of the pandemic, shrinking to less than 5% of sales.

We remain confident in its ability to compound its value for shareholders at an attractive rate going forward.”

Pinduoduo Inc. (NASDAQ: PDD) is an e-commerce company operating a platform in China. The Pinduoduo mobile platform offers various products like apparel, shoes, bags, mother and childcare products, and others. The company ranks 9th on our list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

This May, Pinduoduo Inc. (NASDAQ: PDD) reported that it was able to narrow its non-GAAP operating and net losses in the latest quarter's earnings report. In the first quarter of 2021, Pinduoduo Inc. (NASDAQ: PDD) had an EPS of -$0.24, beating estimates by $-.14, while its revenue was $3.47 billion, up 278.06% year over year and beat estimates by $269.66 million. The company has a gross profit margin of 62.47% and the stock has gained 31.01% in the past year.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 56 hedge funds held stakes in Pinduoduo Inc. (NASDAQ: PDD) worth roughly $6.29 billion. This is compared to 54 hedge fund holders in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $10.5 billion. Like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), and Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), Pinduoduo Inc. (NASDAQ: PDD) is a good e-commerce stock to invest in.

Tao Value, an investment management firm, mentioned Pinduoduo Inc. (NASDAQ: PDD) in its first-quarter 2021 investor letter. Here's what they said:

“Pinduoduo reported a strong quarter, reporting MAU of 720 million, now surpassing Taobao. However, it was overshadowed by a bigger news on Colin Huang resigning from Board and completely disassociating himself from PDD’s management & operation. Huang explained in his letter to shareholders that he would start fundamental research initiatives in food science. Although not entirely shocked (as he already stepped down from CEO July 2020), I am surprised by the fast pace of such transition. I remain confident in the organization and the culture Huang built but will monitor it closely.”

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is a retail giant operating in the US and internationally. The company operates e-commerce websites alongside supercenters, supermarkets, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs, cash and carry stores, and other businesses. It ranks 8th on our list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

This June, Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was leading the gainers in the Dow 30 and broke back over a 200-day moving average. The company also announced its launch of a more affordable brand of insulin, sold at $73 a vial, resulting in the stock receiving positive responses. Citigroup reiterated a Buy rating on the stock as well, with an expectation of margin gains and sales growth in the near future. In the fiscal first quarter of 2022, Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) had an EPS of $1.69, beating estimates by $0.48. Its revenue was $137.16 billion, up 2.61% year over year and beating estimates by $5.04 billion. Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has a gross profit margin of 25.1% and has gained 16.87% in the past year.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 58 hedge fund held stakes in Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) worth roughly $5.88 billion. This is compared to 70 hedge fund holders in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $6.19 billion.

Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) is a general merchandise retailer operating in the US and branching out to e-commerce with its online shopping platform. The company offers food assortments, electronics, toys, and a range of other products. It ranks 7th on our list of the best retail stocks to buy in 2021.

As per Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT), one of their key goals for the year is the remodeling of their outlets by investing more in the consumer shopping experience to make their stores more appealing to the modern customer. The company has already remodeled over 800 stores in the past 4 years, as of June 8th. This June, Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) also brought in UBS as a bull with a Buy rating and a price target of $265, with analyst Michael Lasser commenting that the company's structural improvements will become even clearer in the coming quarters.

In the fiscal first quarter of 2022, Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) had an EPS of $3.69, beating estimates by $1.46. Its revenue was $24.2 billion, up 23.36% year over year and beating estimates by $2.18 billion. The company has a gross profit margin of 30.1% and Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) has also gained 37.07% in the past 6 months and year to date.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 60 hedge funds held stakes in Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) worth roughly $4.76 billion. This is compared to 78 hedge funds in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $4.06 billion. Like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), and Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) is a good e-commerce stock to invest in.

LRT Capital Management, an investment management firm, mentioned Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) in their first-quarter 2021 investor letter. Here's what they said:

“Target, the Minneapolis-based retailer, continues to fire on all cylinders as the company has reported two quarters in a row of +20% revenue growth (5% traffic growth + 15% average basket size6 ), coupled with the strongest EBITDA margins in over four years. The company has successfully navigated the Covid-19 pandemic with online sales growing by 155% and 118% during Q3 2020 and Q4, respectively.

On March 2nd, the company reported another stellar quarter, with same-store sales growing by over 20%, and both earnings (+57% YoY) and revenues (+21% YoY) beating estimates. The shares are up 14.11% year-to-date. We believe the shares are a bargain 23x trailing and 20x forward earnings.”

The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD) is a home improvement retailer that operates the Home Depot stores selling a range of building materials, home improvement products, and other related items. The company has one of the largest e-commerce businesses in the US and ranks 6th on our list of the best e-commerce stocks to buy in 2021.

This June, The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD) added a new online rental facility in about 1,300 rental locations, with the new technology allowing customers to reserve rental equipment 30 days in advance online, to be picked up when needed from the store. In a channel check by Wells Fargo this June, The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD) received positive responses, and an Overweight rating was maintained. J.P. Morgan has also mentioned that The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD) is among its top consumer stock picks. In the fiscal first quarter of 2022, The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD) had an EPS of $3.86, beating estimates by $0.81. The company's revenue was $37.5 billion, up 32.7% year over year and beating estimates by $2.87 billion. The company has a gross profit margin of 33.94% and the stock has gained 21.83% in the past 6 months and year to date.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, 68 hedge funds held stakes in The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD) worth roughly $4.35 billion. This is compared to 79 hedge fund holders in the previous quarter with a total stake value of approximately $4.92 billion. Like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), and Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP), The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD) is a good e-commerce stock to invest in.

Ensemble Capital, an investment management firm, mentioned The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD) in its first-quarter 2021 investor letter. Here's what they said:

“Notable contributors to the Fund’s returns this quarter (included) Home Depot. Home Depot (8.9% weight in the Fund) continued to benefit from a red-hot housing and home improvement market, delivering record financial performance in 2020. As a high return on invested capital business, any step-up in growth results in considerable shareholder value creation. While 2021 comparable sales may not yield impressive headline results, we believe there are several secular tailwinds supporting continued housing investment, including millennials entering prime household formation/peak earnings years, relatively low interest rates, and government policies.

Home Depot (8.9% weight in the Fund): The big orange sign of Home Depot is a familiar sight for homeowners across the country. Despite the rise of Amazon, Home Depot has generated outstanding results for shareholders during the rise of eCommerce, even as Home Depot’s end market in housing suffered the worst collapse in a century. Over the last fifteen years, a period which began at the peak of the housing bubble, Home Depot’s stock has generated annual returns of 17% a year, outperforming the S&P 500 by approximately 7% a year." (Click here to see the full text)

Disclosure: None. 16 Best E-Commerce Stocks to Buy in 2021 is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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Altria Reaches Agreement to Sell Its Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Business

Business Wire 09 July, 2021 - 01:08pm

RICHMOND, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) today announced that its subsidiary, UST LLC, has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (Ste. Michelle) business to Sycamore Partners Management, L.P., a private equity firm specializing in consumer, retail, and distribution investments (Sycamore Partners), in an all-cash transaction with a purchase price of approximately $1.2 billion and the assumption of certain Ste. Michelle liabilities (Transaction). Altria’s net cash proceeds will be subject to customary net working capital and other adjustments at closing.

Altria expects the Transaction to close during the second half of 2021, subject to Sycamore Partners obtaining the necessary financing and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including antitrust regulatory clearance.

“We believe the Transaction is an important step in Altria’s value creation for shareholders and allows our management team greater focus on the pursuit of our Vision to responsibly transition adult smokers to a non-combustible future,” said Billy Gifford, Altria’s Chief Executive Officer. “Ste. Michelle and its talented employees have built an outstanding portfolio of premium wine brands, and we wish them future success.”

“The Ste. Michelle leadership team and I look forward to working with the team at Sycamore Partners and believe we are well-positioned to drive the next phase of our growth,” said David Dearie, Ste. Michelle’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Altria expects to record any gain or loss on the Transaction and related disposition items, which it does not anticipate being material to Altria, in the second half of 2021. Altria intends to treat these amounts as special items and exclude them from its adjusted diluted earnings per share. Altria does not expect to account for the results of Ste. Michelle as discontinued operations.

Altria expects to use the net proceeds from the Transaction for additional share repurchases, subject to approval by its Board of Directors.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC represented Altria as financial advisor, and White & Case LLP provided legal counsel to Altria for the Transaction.

Altria has a leading portfolio of tobacco products for U.S. tobacco consumers age 21+. Altria’s Vision through 2030 is to responsibly lead the transition of adult smokers to a non-combustible future (Vision). Altria is Moving Beyond Smoking™, leading the way in moving adult smokers away from cigarettes by taking action to transition millions to potentially less harmful choices - believing it is a substantial opportunity for adult tobacco consumers, Altria’s businesses and society.

Altria’s wholly owned subsidiaries include the most profitable tobacco companies in their categories: Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA), U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company LLC (USSTC) and John Middleton Co. (Middleton). Altria’s non-combustible portfolio includes Helix Innovations LLC (Helix), the maker of on! oral nicotine pouches, exclusive U.S. commercialization rights to the IQOS Tobacco Heating System® and Marlboro HeatSticks®, and an equity investment in JUUL Labs, Inc. (JUUL).

Altria complements its tobacco portfolio with ownership of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd. (SMWE) and equity investments in Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (ABI), the world’s largest brewer, and Cronos Group Inc. (Cronos), a leading Canadian cannabinoid company.

The brand portfolios of Altria’s tobacco operating companies include Marlboro®, Black & Mild®, Copenhagen®, Skoal® and on!®. SMWE produces and markets premium wines sold under various labels, including Chateau Ste. Michelle®, 14 Hands® and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars™, and it imports and markets Antinori® and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte™ products in the United States. Trademarks and service marks related to Altria referenced in this release are the property of Altria or its subsidiaries or are used with permission.

Learn more about Altria at www.altria.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

This release contains projections of future results and other forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties and are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Important factors that may cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from those contained in such forward-looking statements include the parties’ ability to consummate the Transaction as expected (including uncertainties related to Sycamore Partners’ ability to obtain the necessary financing to consummate the Transaction); the possibility that one or more of the conditions to the consummation of the Transaction may not be satisfied; the possibility that regulatory approvals required for the Transaction may not be obtained in a timely manner, if at all; the parties’ ability to meet expectations regarding the timing, completion, and other matters relating to the Transaction; and any event that could give rise to the termination of the agreement with Sycamore Partners. Other important factors include the possibility that the expected benefits of the Transaction may not materialize in the expected manner or timeframe, if at all, and the other factors detailed in Altria’s publicly filed documents, including Altria’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 and its subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K.

ALTRIA REACHES AGREEMENT TO SELL ITS STE. MICHELLE WINE ESTATES BUSINESS

Altria Group Sells Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Business For $1.2B

Yahoo Finance 09 July, 2021 - 09:13am

Altria expects this transaction to close during the second half of 2021.

Altria expects to record any gain or loss on this transaction and related disposition items, which it does not anticipate being material, in the second half of 2021.

Altria does not expect to account for the results of Ste. Michelle as discontinued operations.

Altria plans to use this sale net proceeds for additional share repurchases.

Altria’s cash and equivalents totaled $5.79 billion as of March 31, 2021.

Price action: MO shares are trading higher by 2.72% at $47.66 on the last check Friday.

Altria Group Inc. said Friday it has agreed to sell its Ste. Michelle Wine Estates business to private-equity firm Sycamore Partners Management L.P. for about $1.2 billion in cash. Altria expects the deal to close in the second half of 2021. The deal is expected to allow the company focus on its transition to non-combustible products. Proceeds will be used to fund share buybacks, subject to board approval. Altria shares were up 0.8% premarket and have gained 13% in the year to date, while the Do

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Tobacco giant Altria Group to sell wine business for $1.2 billion

Reuters 09 July, 2021 - 07:34am

July 9 (Reuters) - Altria Group Inc (MO.N) said on Friday it would sell its Ste. Michelle Wine Estates business to private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $1.2 billion, as the tobacco giant looks to focus its business on cigarette alternatives for smokers.

The Marlboro maker's shares rose 3% in morning trading after the company said it expects to use the cash proceeds from the sale for additional share buybacks.

With the popularity of cigarettes falling in the United States, especially among youngsters, Altria has been developing its line of dipping tobacco, nicotine pouches and other smokeless oral tobacco products.

But its biggest bet on a cigarette alternative - a $12.8 billion investment in e-cigarette maker Juul Labs - has nosedived in value, following an increase in regulatory scrutiny of vaping products.

Ste. Michelle, which sells wine from estates in Washington State, Napa Valley and other parts of the United States, became part of Altria when the company bought smokeless tobacco company UST for $10.4 billion in 2008.

"We believe the transaction is an important step in Altria's value creation for shareholders and allows our management team greater focus on the pursuit of our Vision to responsibly transition adult smokers to a non-combustible future," Billy Gifford, Altria's Chief Executive Officer, said.

The sale, expected to close in the second half of 2021, is the second deal involving Big Tobacco announced on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Philip Morris International (PM.N) agreed to buy British drugmaker Vectura (VEC.L) for 1.05 billions pounds ($1.44 billion). read more

Sycamore specializes in retail investments, with stakes in regional department store operator Belk Inc, apparel brand Ann Taylor and web-based specialty retailer Hot Topic.

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SND: Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Sold to Private Equity Firm for $1.2 Billion

Wine Spectator 08 July, 2021 - 11:00pm

Attention Restaurateurs: 2021 Restaurant Award applications have reopened for any 2020 winners that missed the deadline for COVID-related reasons.

According to Impact Databank, a sister publication of Wine Spectator, Ste. Michelle ranked as the eighth-largest wine marketer in the U.S. in 2020 at 7.3 million cases, led by the Chateau Ste. Michelle and 14 Hands brands, which account for about 3.1 million cases and 1.3 million cases, respectively.

David Dearie, the veteran wine executive who became Ste. Michelle's CEO last fall, told Shanken News Daily that he and his team are slated to stay on post-acquisition. "They bought into the vision and the strategic plan that we presented," he told SND. "I think we're the best folks to execute that plan, and so do our partners. We'll put in the investment required to maximize our potential."

Sycamore, which specializes in retail and consumer investments, has current holdings in brands like Staples, Express, Loft/Ann Taylor, Commerce Hub, and Lane Bryant. The firm has approximately $10 billion in aggregate committed capital.

Altria, whose holdings also include Philip Morris USA and stakes in AB InBev and cannabis company Cronos, acquired Ste. Michelle as part of its purchase of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company in 2008. Altria CEO Billy Gifford said the divestiture will allow the company to sharpen focus on its core tobacco business.

Ste. Michelle has seen volume decline by more than 1.2 million cases over the past four years, according to Impact Databank. Under pressure from the pandemic, sales were down 11 percent to $614 million last year, with operating income slipping 30 percent to $51 million. However, both sales and profits returned to growth in the first quarter of this year, and Dearie sees brighter skies ahead.

"We've launched new packaging behind 14 Hands and we're seeing double-digit depletion growth in the brand over the last couple months," he said. "We're seeing the on-premise returning and the direct-to-consumer business really picking up on our fine wines," said Dearie.

"Our partners see a significant opportunity for growth, and so do we," he added. "I packed up and left Australia to come here in the middle of COVID-19 because I saw the potential, and now we've got a partner who will help us realize that."

For in-depth analysis of the deal, visit Shanken News Daily.

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