Beloved Aussie food icon Maggie Beer has taken a big step back from her Barossa Valley-based business Maggie Beer Products, famous for its gourmet quince paste, jams and premium ice creams.
Beer has sold her 52 per cent stake in the business to Melbourne-based ASX-listed food and beverage company Longtable Group, which already owns 48 per cent of the business. This means Longtable now owns 100 per cent of the company.
But Beer will not be parting from the business completely: she will remain in product development, serve on Longtable’s board, and be a major shareholder in Maggie Beer Products.
Her 52 per cent stake has been sold for $10 million in cash and shares. Beer sold 48 per cent of the business to Longtable in 2016 for $15 million.
Why is she stepping back?
She’s 74 and needs a succession plan to “stop and smell the roses,” she told SmartCompany.
“I don’t want to say I’m feeling my age, but at 74 I need to be more free, and I need to be able to do all the things a person who has some time on their hands can do.
“It’s a combination of wanting to have more time to work on the things I love, and have more time to stop and smell the roses,” Beer said.
“But that doesn’t mean retiring — I still have my foundation and that requires a lot of my energy. But now I actually have more time to be in my garden.”
Beer had been putting in 70-hour weeks into the business. Now, she’ll only be working on it one week a month and focus most of her attention on her Maggie Beer Foundation, which aims to improve food experiences for older Australians living in aged care homes.
Last week, federal minister for aged care Ken Wyatt granted the Maggie Beer Foundation $500,000 to create online video training modules for aged care cooks and chefs across the nation.
“The filming needs my energy for the cooks and chefs to show what’s possible,’’ Beer told Adelaide Now.
Happy to let go
Beer expressed satisfaction with what she had done with her business and faith leaving it in the hands of the Longtable Group.
“I am very proud of what we’ve done with Maggie Beer,” Beer told Business News Australia.
“I know that my legacy will live on with the people that I have around me and the people that are part of the team at Maggie Beer Products.”
The Maggie Beer Products business is in good financial health, according to Longtable.
“The Maggie Beer team has successfully managed costs to create a profitable, sustainable business with a very powerful brand that is highly regarded by consumers looking for premium food products,” Longtable managing director Laura McBain said in a statement to the ASX.
“New product development is a key part of our future development beyond the next six months. This will include the expansion of Maggie Beer products to new categories in collaboration with the major supermarkets.”
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