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Brown-Forman to Sell Bolla and Fontana Candida Italian Wine brands To Gruppo Italiano Vini

BFA 120108

Monday, Beverage manufacturer Brown-Forman Corp., (BFA, BFB) announced the sale of its Bolla and Fontana Candida Italian wine brands to Gruppo Italiano Vini, or GIV, an Italian company with which Brown-Forman has worked for many years. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in December and GIV would assume responsibility for Bolla in all markets outside of the U.S. on January 1, 2009.

Brown-Forman is a diversified producer and marketer of fine quality alcoholic beverages including Jack Daniel's, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodka, Canadian Mist, Fetzer and Bolla Wines and Korbel California Champagnes.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company said that the decision to divest reflects the company's sprouting portfolio strategy and a continuation of its efforts to focus the time and resources of the company on their best opportunities for growth and shareholder returns.

The company said that in the U.S., both Bolla and Fontana Candida would be shifted to GIV no later than April 30. Effectively, Brown-Forman would serve as an agent for these brands in the U.S. until the transfer is completed.

Brown-Forman, which has marketed Bolla wines since 1968, acquired a minority interest in the brand in 1972 and by 2000 owned the Bolla trademark and business outright. Brown-Forman has owned the Fontana Candida wine trademark since 1987. GIV has produced the Fontana Candida wine for Brown-Forman since 1987 and began producing Bolla wines for Brown-Forman in 2006.

Brown-Forman's chief executive officer, Paul Varga commented, "Both Bolla and Fontana Candida were nice brands for Brown-Forman over many years, and we're pleased they will continue on in the capable hands of GIV. We wish Bolla, Fontana Candida, and GIV the very best in their future brand building efforts."

BFB closed Monday's regular trading session at $43.01, down $0.88 or 2.01% % on a volume of 0.8 million shares. In the past 52-week period, the stock has been trading in a range of $40.46 - $63.024.

BFA closed Monday's regular trading session at $43.58, down $0.77 or 1.74% % on a volume of 18 thousand shares. In the past 52-week period, the stock has been trading in a range of $38.30 - $63.16.

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