Dublin-based C&C Group has acquired Matthew Clark and Bibendum – the wholesale arm of embattled UK drinks company Conviviality.
C&C, which produces Bulmers cider and Tennant's beer, revealed on Wednesday morning that it was in 'advanced discussions' to acquire the wholesale business, but the deal was completed by the afternoon.
C&C now owns 100% of the issued share capital of Matthew Clark Bibendum, which is the largest independent distributor to the UK on-trade drinks sector, after paying a 'nominal sum' for the business.
“We know the Matthew Clark and Bibendum businesses very well," said Stephen Glancey, CEO of C&C Group.
"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."
C&C added that Matthew Clark Bibendum will be run as a separate business, but will allow the group to create the 'leading independent route-to-market network across the British Isles'.
It has been a challenging few weeks for drinks company Conviviality, which employs around 2,500 staff across the UK.
Two weeks ago, the company suspended trading shares on the AIM market, after identifying an unexpected £30 million tax bill, due what it described as an "arithmetic error" in its financial forecasts.
Following this news, the group's chief executive Diana Hunter stepped down from her position, and Conviviality announced its intention to appoint administrators, after failing to raise the necessary funds to recapitalise the business.
"We hope today’s announcement can put an end to this period of disruption and uncertainty," added Glancey. "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.”
The C&C wholesale deal represents only part of Conviviality's business – the group also operates more than 700 franchise stores across the UK under the Bargain Booze and Wine Rack brands.
Earlier this week, it was reported that brewing company Molson Coors and Chinese private equity firm ZQ Capital were also in talks to acquire all or part of Conviviality's operations.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.