The majority stake in Lascelles deMercado will cost Campari US$414.8m

The majority stake in Lascelles deMercado will cost Campari US$414.8m

Gruppo Campari has lined up the third largest purchase in its history, with the acquisition of majority control of Lascelles deMercado & Co, parent company of the Appleton Estate and Wray & Nephew rum brands.

The Italy-based company said earlier today (3 September) that it has agreed to buy 81.4% of Lascelles deMercado (LdM) from CL Financial, with a view to buying all of LdM's stock for US$414.8m. The stake will see Campari take over LdM’s spirits business, which includes the Appleton Estate, Appleton Special/White, Wray & Nephew and Coruba brands, as well as “substantial ageing inventory to support future expansion”.

The move sees Campari make its entry into the rum category, and follows two other major purchases in recent years, of Skyy vodka in 2001 and of Wild Turkey from Pernod Ricard in 2009.

“With Lascelles deMercado … we are once again leveraging our acquisition framework in a very disciplined and consistent manner for future growth,” said Campari's CEO, Bob Kunze-Concewitz. “The addition of the Appleton, Wray & Nephew and Coruba rum brands … will help us build our critical mass further in key North American markets … whilst laying the foundations for future international growth.

“When completed, this acquisition will give a further boost to the internationalisation of Gruppo Campari, further expanding our business outside of Italy, as well as strengthening our largest and most profitable business, the spirits segment.”

The transaction comprises a formal tender offer to the board of LdM and to public shareholders, with the purchase set to complete in the final quarter of this year.

CL Financial, which bought LdM through its Angostura Holdings unit in 2007, has suffered during the economic downturn. Many of the Trinidadian's assets, which also include construction, real estate and financial services interests, have been seized by the country's government. 

To view an interview with Kunze-Concewitz, in which he discusses the transaction, click here.