Economy

C&C in 'advanced discussions' to acquire Matthew Clark Bibendum

C&C in 'advanced discussions' to acquire Matthew Clark Bibendum

Bargain Booze will not be included in the deal as it sits in Conviviality's retail division.

With a range of over 4,000 products, including beers, wines, spirits, cider and soft drinks, sourced from in excess of 300 suppliers, Matthew Clark is the largest independent distributor to the United Kingdom on-trade drinks sector.

Conviviality said last Thursday (29 March) that it meant to place itself in administration within 10 working days after failing to raise £125 million needed to keep the company afloat.

Now, the company has confirmed that it is in discussions with C&C in respect of a possible sale of Conviviality Direct. Conviviality said it is in discussions with a number of other parties interested in the purchase of the Retail business.

"We know the Matthew Clark and Bibendum businesses very well", Stephen Glancey, Group CEO of C&C, said.

In a statement C&C said: "Consideration for the shares will be a nominal sum, and C&C will provide sufficient funds to support the on-going working capital and other cash requirements of the business".

With financial support from drinks giant AB InBev, C&C said it will make an offer for Matthew Clark and Bibendum on the condition that Conviviality appoints administrators, which is expected to be announced today.

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The C&C wholesale deal represents only part of Conviviality's business - the group also operates more than 700 franchise stores across the United Kingdom under the Bargain Booze and Wine Rack brands.

It would also enhance access for C&C's cider and super-premium brands across the on- and off-trade in the United Kingdom which include not only Magners and Tennent's but also Menabrea and Heverlee beers and Orchard Pig cider. It would also allow it to access Bibendum's wine distribution network in London and the south-east.

It intends to acquire the entire issued share capital of the two businesses after their parent company Conviviality last month reported profits would be £5.2million less than expected and it faced a £30million tax bill.

AB InBev already works with C&C in the United Kingdom, and Conviviality was also a key launch partner for AB InBev's Bud Light beer brand in the United Kingdom from March 2017 onwards.

Conviviality's rapid demise has surprised parts of the wine trade and investment community, with more questions likely to be asked about how the firm found itself in such a situation.

The Matthew Clark Bibendum business includes Catalyst, an agency for drinks brands, and Peppermint, the outdoor events business.


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