The biggest wine and spirits distributor in the U.S. plans to buy one of the biggest such distributors in Nebraska.

Miami-based Southern Wine & Spirits of America expects to close on the acquisition of Sterling Distributing Co. of Omaha by the end of the month, pending regulatory approval.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Wayne Chaplin, president and chief executive of Southern Wine & Spirits, said he contemplated building a location here from scratch but instead reached a deal with Greg Alevizos, chairman of Sterling Distributing.

All of Sterling's approximately 90 employees are expected to keep their jobs, Chaplin said.

"Greg agreed if Southern came in that we would be able to take the business and get it to grow and really give some security to the employees and people there," Chaplin said.

Sterling already is among the top Nebraska distributors of wine and spirits.

The company in December ranked second in terms of volume of spirits sold and third in terms of wine sold, according to figures from the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission.

Alevizos said the deal will take Sterling "to the next level."

Southern Wine & Spirits has almost $12 billion in annual revenue and ranked No. 25 on Forbes' 2015 list of America's largest private companies.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1534, cole.epley@owh.com

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