Conviviality to sell Matthew Clark and Bibendum

4th April, 2018 by Melita Kiely

Magners Cider owner C&C Group and AB Inbev are in “advanced discussions” with beleaguered Conviviality to acquire distribution arms Matthew Clark and Bibendum.

Matthew Clark Logo WEB

C&C Group and AB Inbev said they are in “advanced discussions” to acquire Matthew Clark and Bibendum

The purchase of Matthew Clark and Bibendum is dependent on numerous factors including the appointment of administrators to Conviviality, which is expected to happen later today (4 April).

UK alcohol wholesaler and distributor Conviviality confirmed its intention to appoint administrators last Wednesday (28 March) after the company failed to raise the £125 million (US$176.8m) investment it needed to avoid bankruptcy.

If the acquisition deal is successful, Matthew Clark and Bibendum will have £102m in working capital facilities provided by its current lender group, which will be repayable in instalments over the 12 months following completion.

Matthew Clark and Bibendum, along with their subsidiary businesses including Catalyst, Peppermint, Elastic and Walker & Wodehouse, will merge to become Matthew Clark Bibendum, which will operate as a separate business to C&C.

Conviviality said it is also in discussions with a “number of other parties” who are interested in purchasing its retail business, Bargain Booze.

Stephen Glancey, C&C Group CEO, said: “We know the Matthew Clark and Bibendum businesses very well. They are great businesses with unparalleled on-trade market access, a wide range of supplier relationships and supported by a knowledgeable and loyal employee base.

“The last few weeks have been challenging for employees, customers and suppliers alike. We hope today’s announcement can put an end to this period of disruption and uncertainty.

“We look forward to working with our new colleagues and other stakeholders to bring stability and restore the group’s position as one of the leading and most respected drinks suppliers to the UK hospitality sector.”

After issuing numerous profit warnings last month and discovering a £30m tax bill, Conviviality suspended trading its shares on Aim.

Soon after the suspension was announced, Conviviality’s CEO Diana Hunter stepped down from the board with immediate effect. The company’s non-executive chairman, David Adams, took up the leadership position of executive chairman until further notice.

Conviviality endeavoured to fundraise £125m to prevent it from going bankrupt, but to no avail.

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