Maggie Beer is selling half her food business for $15 million

Maggie Beer. Source: supplied

One of Australia’s most-loved cooks, Maggie Beer, is selling a minority stake in her Barossa Valley food business to a digital media company for $15 million.

ASX-listed B2B company Primary Opinion Ltd will take a 48% stake in Maggie Beer Products, the private company the 71-year-old former senior Australian of the Year runs with her husband Colin.

Primary Opinion, formerly Jumbuck Entertainment, has had several incarnations over the past decade and the Melbourne-based business now focuses a digital knowledge-sharing platform for the global professional services industry, primarily in legal services.

The company said the deal was the “first step in a wider investment strategy focussed on the food and beverage sector”.

The business intends to fund the investment through a capital raising, subject to shareholder approval, and shares today are down 10% to $0.045 on the news.

In October last year, Primary Opinion (ASX:POP) raised A$700,000 via 35 million new ordinary shares in at an issue price of $0.02. Tony Robinson, a stockbroker and former CEO of financial services organisation Centre Point Alliance, who joined Primary Opinion’s board at that point, will join the Maggie Beer Products board as a non-executive director if the deal goes through.

Beer, currently in Sydney to film the latest series of The Great Australian Bake Off, has been contacted by Business Insider for comment.

Beer’s food business began in 1979 when she opened the Farm Shop at the Pheasant Farm, her property in the Barossa, six years after she first began farming pheasants and planted a quince grove. Her famous verjuice was the result of being unable sell a batch of riesling grapes in 1984. The result was believed to be the world’s first commercial batch of the now-popular cooking aid. Her pate was another staple product.

The company’s first export kitchen opened 20 years ago and today she has contract manufacturers in other states, using Barossa produce, in products ranging from ice cream to soups, stocks and jams.

Today the Maggie Beer Products employs more than 100 people and the products are stocked in major supermarkets and gourmet food stores.

The business is expected to have around $10 million in gross proceeds from the deal to invest in expansion, including exploring export opportunities.

Two years ago, she launched the Maggie Beer Foundation in a bid to improve the quality of food in aged care facilities.

Last month, Colin Beer’s brother, Bruce, put his 52 hectare Riverland vineyard and quince farm , which produces Beer Brothers Wines, on the market.

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