Italian drinks group Campari has agreed to acquire French bitter aperitif brand Picon and related assets from Diageo for around €119 million.
With this deal, the maker of Aperol and Campari bitters strengthens its position in France, the group's fourth largest market, in line with other recent acquisitions including French rums Trois Rivières annd La Mauny, and Champagne Lallier, it said in a statement.
Campari, which is the sixth largest premium spirits group globally, also widens its brand offering in its core bitter aperitifs category in international markets when Moët Hennessy is marketing its Moët Garden Spritz aperitif to challenge Aperol Spritz.
Last year, Campari said it sees plenty of room for growth from its best-selling beverage, Aperol, and is not worried about the threat from competitors, including a new spritz cocktail launched by LVMH's Moët Hennessy.
Picon is currently available in two versions – Amer Picon Club, an orange-based liqueur to be mixed with wine and cocktails, and Amer Picon Bière, to be mixed with beer.
The Picon transaction was funded via available cash.
Commenting on the divestiture, John Kennedy, president of Diageo Europe, said, "As part of our commitment to delivering consistent, efficient growth and value creation for our shareholders, we maintain a sharp focus on active portfolio management.
"This includes a disciplined approach to allocating resources and capital to ensure we maximise returns over time. Whilst Picon has a strong heritage and loyal consumer base in France and Belgium, today’s announcement is another example of this strategy in action."
Campari generates approximately 80% of its sales in France, where it holds a leading position in the bitter aperitif category. Its remaining sales are mostly generated in the Benelux markets.
Last week, the Aperol maker reported sales jump in the first three months of the year on the back of strong demand for its aperitifs as drinkers returned to bars in Europe.