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Wine.Com Raises $50 Million in Financing

Wine.com (formerly VirtualVineyard.com) completed a financing round in which it raised more than $50 million from a group led by TH Lee.Putnam Internet Partners.

The TH Lee.Putnam Internet Partners' investment is $20 million. The funds will be used for global expansion and to expand the site's content through strategic acquisitions and partnerships, Wine.com said.

Other participants in this funding round include New Millennium Partners, Value Vision, MediaOne Ventures (a division of MediaOne Group), J. & W. Seligman, Inroads Capital and Applied Technology. Wine.com has now raised a total of more than $80 million in the last six months.

"We chose wine.com because it meets our primary criteria for successful Internet investments," said TH Lee.Putnam Internet Partners' Managing Director Jeff Coats said.

"It has strong management with the proven ability to grow a business. It is a clear leader in a market category with strong growth potential. And we believe that wine.com's business model -- particularly its value-added customer service focus -- gives it the potential for rapid, sustainable growth with superior margins."

In the last year, wine.com said it has established a network of wholesalers and retailers that allows it to ship wine to most U.S. markets, as well as to key markets in Europe, Asia and South America.

Wine.com launched an off-line branding campaign in April with newspaper and magazine ads and it expanded in September to include radio and TV advertising. TH Lee.Putnam Internet Partners' sponsor is TH Lee, Putnam Capital L.P., an entity owned by Thomas H. Lee Company and Putnam Investments.



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