Campari completes Courvoisier purchase

Italy’s Campari Group has completed its billion-dollar acquisition of Courvoisier Cognac from Suntory Global Spirits.

The deal, which marks Suntory Global Spirits’ (formerly Beam Suntory) exit from the Cognac category, was announced in December 2023. The agreement, which was signed on 26 February, will see Campari buy the brand for US$1.17bn.

The transaction was financed through a combination of newly issued shares and a convertible bond offer.

In addition, Campari will pay an estimated US$30m to Suntory for finished goods as part of a stock transfer agreement.

The deal also stipulates that an earn-out for a maximum total of US$120m will be paid in 2029, dependent on the brand meeting sales targets in the 2028 full year.

At the time of the acquisition announcement, Campari said the deal is the largest in the Milan-based group’s history. The agreement includes full ownership of the brand and its operations in Jarnac, France, as well as maturing stocks (valued at US$365m) and finished goods.

Courvoisier is one of the world’s biggest Cognac brands. It sold 1.2 million nine-litre cases in 2022, down by 19.4% on 2021, according to The Brand Champions 2023 report.

Campari said the deal would also enable it to expand its presence in the US and help the company ‘transform’ its growth profile in Asia and global travel retail.

The Cognac category is poised to become the group’s “fourth major leg along with apéritifs, Bourbon and Tequila”, Campari’s former CEO, Bob Kunze-Concewitz, said in December.

In 2023, the Italian firm recorded its third consecutive year of double-digit growth.

Meanwhile, US group Suntory Global Spirits saw net sales grow by 7% in 2023, driven by double-digit gains for its premium Bourbons and Japanese whiskies.

Last month, Campari installed an Aperol bottling plant in its Novi Ligure site in northwest Italy, enabling the brand to double its production capacity.

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Author: Nicola Carruthers