Campari launches $760m takeover of Grand Marnier

Gruppo Campari has agreed to buy French-based spirits producer Société des Produits Marnier Lapostolle (SPML), the makers of Grand Marnier, for €684 million ($760m), in what it describes as a “friendly takeover”.

Bob Kunze-Concewitz

Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Gruppo Campari

The producer announced today that it had reached an agreement with SPML to acquire control of the company, immediately acquiring 17.19% of shares. It plans to gain majority control via a tender offer on the French stock exchange having valued SPML at €684 million ($760m). If Campari fails to gain more than half the shares through the tender offer, the family shareholders have agreed to sell their remaining shares (28.8%) to give Campari a controlling stake from 2021.

In addition, Campari will assume global distribution rights for SPML’s spirits brands, which include Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, Cherry Marnier, Louis Alexandre, Cuvée du Centenaire, Cuvée du Cent Cinquantenaire and Quintessence, as of 1 July.

“This acquisition represents a perfect fit with our external growth strategy in terms of brand profile, distribution and financial framework”, said Bob Kunze-Concewitz, chief executive officer of Gruppo Campari of the move. “With Grand Marnier, we add a premium and distinctive brand to our Global Priorities portfolio, thus driving richer product mix, and we further consolidate our position as the leading purveyor of premium liqueurs and bitter specialties worldwide.”

SPML, founded in 1827, is headquartered in Paris and is known for its premium liqueurs and eaux-de-vie. In 1880 the founder’s descendant Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle decided to combine its Cognac with orange, a rare and precious fruit at the time, creating Grand Marnier. Today, the Cognac-based orange liqueur is the eighth-largest liqueur brand in the US, according to Databank. The brand is currently handled by Moet Hennessy in the US, which accounts for around 60% of its €152 million ($169m) in annual sales.

Kunze-Concewitz highlighted Gruppo Campari’s acquisition of Grand Marnier in particular as a welcome boon to its efforts to capitalise on the “revival of classic cocktails” in the US.

“Grand Marnier will benefit from the strategic focus of the strengthened Gruppo Campari RTM as a key Brand within our Global Priorities portfolio across all markets. By acquiring Grand Marnier, we continue leveraging our acquisition framework in a very disciplined and consistent manner also from a financial view point as we consolidate a high-margin brand and cash generative business, expected to determine an immediate accretive effect on the existing business.”

Grand Marnier would join Gruppo Campari’s portfolio of liqueurs, which includes Aperol, Frangelico, Cynar, Averna and Braulio.

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