Biggest drinks trade acquisitions of 2018

C&C Group and AB InBev save Matthew Clark and Bibendum from the flailing Conviviality PLC

British and Irish drinks producer and distributor C&C Group and brewing giant AB InBev ended months of turbulence for employees and customers of Conviviality in April, having announced a joint plan to acquire Matthew Clark, Bibendum and other subsidiaries from the ailing Conviviality.

It followed a torrid start to the year for Conviviality, which issued its first profit warning on 8 March in which it declared that a “material error” in its financial forecasts had meant that its profit would be £5.2 million less than expected.

This was followed by an update on 14 March in which it added that it was facing a £30 million tax bill and had suspended trading in its shares. CEO Diana Hunter stepped down from the board on 19 March, her departure reportedly a pre-requisite for investors to support an equity fundraising attempt.

On 21 March, it announced it would be attempting to raise £125m to pay off debts and continue trading, but on 28 March, Conviviality reported that it had failed to reach this equity target. 

It suggested parts of the business would have to be sold off, and on 29 March, filed notice of its intention to appoint administrators within 10 business days “unless circumstances change”.

In May, it was announced that Michael Saunders would be returning to Bibendum as chief executive officer.

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