Parker sells Wine Advocate stake for $15 mn: report

Influential US wine critic Robert Parker has sold a major stake in his company to Singapore-based investors for $15 million, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Singapore's Straits Times said it spoke to potential investors invited to take part in a deal brokered by bankers in the city-state, where parker's newsletter The Wine Advocate (TWA) is to be edited from next year.

The firm has declined to release financial details of the deal.

It became public on Tuesday after Parker told the Wall Street Journal he was shifting his main editorial operations to Singapore.

In an email to TWA subscribers, he confirmed the deal but did not say what percentage the new investors now hold -- or how much money they put in.

"We will not comment further than what Mr. Parker has already posted," a spokeswoman for TWA told AFP by email when asked about the financial terms.

The Journal also reported that the print edition of the TWA newsletter would be phased out but the spokeswoman said that was not the case.

"There are no plans to do away with the hard copy edition" she said.

"We are simply offering subscribers a PDF option for those who wish to utilise it -- by subscriber request."

Despite having only 50,000 subscribers paying $75 a year for six issues, most of them living in the United States, the newsletter can make or break a winemaker with reviews based on a 50-100 point quality grading system.

In his email to subscribers, Parker said the firm's headquarters will remain in Maryland despite the opening of an office in Singapore where a new editor-in-chief, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, will be based.

Perrotti-Brown will be "assuming all responsibilities for coordinating TWA content, editing and proof-reading, things that I have found enormously time-consuming", Parker said.

"While rumours about me retiring have circulated for years, nothing could be further from the truth. I am still in this profession for the long-term as I remain the CEO and chairman of the TWA board, and an owner," he added.

Parker said "we can more easily serve Asian countries" from Singapore.

Global market research company Euromonitor International said the Asia-Pacific region consumed 5.62 billion litres of wine in 2011, with China accounting for 3.87 billion or 69 percent of the total.

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