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just-drinks' Mergers & Acquisitions database - March 2020 - FREE TO ACCESS

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Here, just-drinks consolidates the M&A activity in the global drinks industry during March, a month that saw Constellation Brands close the book on its craft beer folly, PepsiCo up the energy drinks stakes and Pernod Ricard complete a bit of shopping before COVID-19 closed the shops.

Distell put some of its wine assets up for sale last month

Distell put some of its wine assets up for sale last month

Beer & Cider

Asahi has offered to sell some Carlton & United Breweries beer and cider operations, including Stella Artois and Beck's, to appease regulators in Australia. Asahi agreed in July to buy CUB from Anheuser-Busch InBev for US$11.3bn and is waiting for the greenlight from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). In early-March, the commission said Asahi had proposed selling parts of the CUB business to address competition concerns.

Constellation Brands has completed the sale of the Ballast Point craft beer business to Kings & Convicts Brewing Co. The transaction, which was first announced in December, comes just over four years after the company agreed to buy the San Diego craft brewer, in a deal worth US$1bn.

There's only one subject on everyone's minds at the moment, Stephen Beaumont included. This month, our beer expert looks at the options available to brewers in these deeply troubling times.

Soft Drinks

PepsiCo has agreed to buy Rockstar Energy Beverages for US$3.85bn in a deal that sets up a global energy drinks showdown with The Coca-Cola Co. The Pepsi brand owner confirmed a report in the Wall Street Journal claiming the group was poised to buy Las Vegas-based Rockstar.

The Wall Street Journal got early wind yesterday of PepsiCo's swoop for Rockstar Energy Beverages, publishing an unconfirmed report on the deal hours before PepsiCo released an official statement. In hindsight, however, the signs that PepsiCo was set for a major play in the energy category were all there.

Spirits

Pernod Ricard has added aperitivo Italicus to its portfolio in a 50/50 partnership with the brand's owner. Speaking to just-drinks, Italicus founder & CEO Giuseppe Gallo said the partnership sees him take a equal shareholding with Pernod Ricard. Gallo will continue to run Italicus as CEO.

Pernod Ricard has upped its majority holding in Monkey 47, taking full ownership of the German high-end gin brand. The transaction sees Monkey 47's founder, Alexander Stein, remain with the brand in an unspecified capacity.

As distillers in the US come to terms with an on-premise channel in shutdown and an uncertain economic future, just-drinks spoke to the head of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Chris Swonger, about the potential impact of the coronavirus.

Wine

Maison Louis Roederer has announced the pending acquisition of Diamond Creek Vineyards in the US. The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, will see the Champagne house add the Napa Valley-based company to its Cabernet Sauvignon ranks

Distell has put two of its wine brands - along with their estates - on the market as the South Africa-headquartered group looks to "lighten its balance sheet" as sales head south. In a statement that discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the company, Distel acknowledged the three-week shutdown in South Africa that will see alcohol production cease. As well as flagging its efforts to produce alcohol for sanitising purposes, the group announced plans to offload its Alto and Plaisir de Merle wine operations.

As former Diageo CEO Paul Walsh once told just-drinks: "They say, in wine, a fool and his money are easily parted." Unfortunately, for the wine category, the consumer is no fool. Chris Losh looks at Pernod Ricard's attempts to move Jacob's Creek up the value chain and finds a brand struggling under the weight of consumer perception.


Expert Analysis

Top Trends in Alcoholic Drinks

Top Trends in Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol as a sector is highly mature, with stable categories, but a vast choice of individual products. This maturity, along with the relative conservatism in the category, makes innovation difficult ...

VIEW REPORT

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