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May 10, 2022updated 13 May 2022 10:08am

Campari Group swoops for Picon brand in US$125m deal with Diageo

The purchase is a play by Campari to strengthen its position in the French market

By James Beeson

Campari Group has announced the immediate acquisition of French flavoured liqueur brand Picon from Diageo for a sum in the region of EUR119m (US$125m).

The deal, announced today (10 May), sees the bittersweet orange aperitif brand join the Campari portfolio, as the group looks to strengthen its position in the French market. 80% of Picon’s EUR21.5m (US$22.65m) sales for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2021 were in the brand’s domestic market.

As part of the terms of the transaction, Diageo has agreed a two-year supply agreement with Campari to continue to produce the Picon portfolio, which comprises Amer Picon Club and Amer Picon Bière variants.

The move is the latest in a series of acquisitions for Campari in the French market, having added Champagne Lallier and the Trois Rivières and La Mauny rum brands to its stable in recent years. The country is the group’s 4th largest individual market, accounting for 5.9% of its EUR2.17bn (US$2.46bn) of sales in the full year of 2021.

For Diageo, the deal represents another example of the group’s ‘active portfolio management’ in action. Earlier this year the group announced the offload of its Windsor blended Scotch whisky brand to a private equity consortium in South Korea for a sum of US$163.7m.

“As part of our commitment to delivering consistent, efficient growth and value creation for our shareholders, we maintain a sharp focus on active portfolio management,” said Diageo’s president for Europe John Kennedy. “This includes a disciplined approach to allocating resources and capital to ensure we maximise returns over time.

“Whilst Picon has a strong heritage and loyal consumer base in France and Belgium, today’s announcement is another example of this strategy in action.”

The cash-funded transaction was signed and simultaneously closed by the two companies today (10 May).

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