Gruppo Campari snaps up Bulldog Gin

3rd February, 2017 by Kristiane Sherry

Italian drinks firm Gruppo Campari is to acquire Bulldog Gin for US$58.4 million, accelerating a planned buyout scheduled for 2020.

Gruppo Campari has acquired “most” of the assets of the Bulldog Gin brand

The all cash transaction sees Gruppo Campari acquire “most” of the assets of the super-premium gin brand for US$55m, plus assumed liabilities and working capital valued at US$3.4m.

Including “other assets”, Bulldog shareholders will receive US$70 million, a figure 5.7-times Bulldog’s 2016 full-year revenues.

Bulldog shareholders will also receive further cash if sales exceed forecasts in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Gruppo Campari took on distribution for Bulldog in 2014 as part of a five-year agreement which included the option to acquire the brand in 2020.

Speaking to The Spirits Business in July 2016, Gruppo Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz hinted the firm could move to buy the brand early as it was “outperforming the gin market wherever it is”.

In a statement issued on the deal, Kunze-Concewitz said: “We are very pleased to initiate the acquisition of Bulldog Gin which we have successfully been distributing since 2014. This deal is an opportunity to consolidate our presence as a key player in the attractive super-premium gin category via a super-premium brand with significant growth potential. By gaining full control of Bulldog Gin’s marketing, strategy and brand building initiatives, we are strongly positioned to exploit the brand’s full potential.”

Bulldog founder Anshuman Vohra is expected to remain with the brand “for a period of time” in an ambassadorial role.

“Bulldog has always been a labour of love for me, and I’m quite pleased to hand over control of Bulldog to a venerable institution, such as Gruppo Campari,” Vohra said.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with their very professional organisation for the last few years and am confident the brand will continue to excel in its new home.”

Kunze-Concewitz continued: “Moreover, thanks to super-premium Bulldog Gin, we complement the group’s existing offering and further premiumise its own brand portfolio, driving richer product mix. From a distribution stand point thanks to Bulldog Gin we will further increase our on-premise focus, particularly in the US, where the group is currently strengthening its on-trade capabilities.

“Moreover, we further enrich our own offering in global travel retail and we continue to leverage the group’s existing route-to-market, particularly the recently established distribution platforms, like Spain. By acquiring a fast growing, profitable and margin accretive brand, this deal is a perfect fit with Campari’s acquisition criteria in terms of type of brands and distribution fit.”

Bulldog Gin was launched in the US in 2007 and was subsequently made available in Europe. It is the fourth largest premium gin in the world, according to IWSR figures, with net 2016 sales climbing 22% to €11m (US$11.8m). In volume terms, the brand shifted around 150,000 9-litre cases globally in 2015.

Last year, Kunze-Concewitz said he expected his company to be “quite active” in merger and acquisition activity in 2017.

The firm’s most recent major acquisition before the Bulldog transaction was its takeover of Grand Marnier parent Société des Produits Marnier Lapostolle for €684m (about US$735m).

2 Responses to “Gruppo Campari snaps up Bulldog Gin”

  1. Bruce says:

    Another big business deal, sure, but I wonder who actually buys Bulldog? I don’t know anyone who does (or even talks about it the way some do about Hendrick’s), nor do I see it featured in cocktail menus in Chicago or NY… I tried it shortly after it came out and found it too cautious for my tastes. Perhaps a gateway gin for vodka drinkers?

  2. DTS says:

    Wasn’t this sort of thing predicted in your gin trends piece? 😉

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