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Sazerac CEO confirms Hi-Spirits acquisition

Mark Brown, president and CEO of Buffalo Trace Distillery owner Sazerac, has confirmed his company’s acquisition of its UK distributor Hi-Spirits.

Mark Brown has confirmed Sazerac’s acquisition of Hi-Spirits

Speaking to The Spirits Business, Brown said the deal was “consummated quite a while ago” but was not publicly announced.

“[C]onsistent with the way we operate our business, it’s running very much as an independent business, which is how we think it’s going to operate best,” he said.

“So the deal was consummated seamlessly and they have been part of the Sazerac family for a while, and we’re thrilled with the way that business is running.”

Unconfirmed rumours began to circulate that Sazerac had sought to buy Hi-Spirits around the time of the company’s acquisition of the Southern Comfort and Tuaca brands from Brown-Forman earlier this year.

Sazerac and Brown-Forman finalised their US$542 million deal in March this year, at the same time as Hi-Spirits assumed distribution control of the brands.

Brown said news of Sazerac’s Hi-Spirits takeover was not made public since the privately owned company discloses its acquisitions on a “case by case basis”, adding that it has made “at least two” more acquisitions that are “still not in the public domain”.

“We’re clearly acquisitive and I think on each one we just consider at the time if it’s appropriate to disclose it or not disclose it,” he said.

In the past 12 months, Sazerac has announced seven spirits-related acquisitions: Southern Comfort and Tuaca from Brown-Forman, Paddy Irish Whiskey and Frïs Vodka from Pernod Ricard, independently-run The Last Drop Distillers, Australian spirits importer, marketer and distributor South Trade International, and Michael Collins Irish Whiskey at the end of 2015.

To read The Spirits Business’s full interview with Mark Brown, see the November issue of the magazine, out soon.

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