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Bibendum PLB wine supplier sold in 60m pound deal

A trend for buyout deals in the UK wine trade has continued after Conviviality Retail said it would acquire the Bibendum PLB wine merchant in a deal valuing the business at £60m.

Conviviality, which also owns retail chain Bargain Booze, said it would use a combination of share placements and loans to fund its acquisition of the Bibendum PLB wine supplier. It has signed a conditional agreement, but the buyout has not yet been completed.

The deal will see the formation of one of the UK’s largest wine suppliers, straddling restaurants, hotels and retailers, but also with an in-house retail division thanks to Conviviality’s existing business.

It is the latest chapter of a consolidation trend in a UK wine trade that has faced significant financial pressures in the past decade; including from duty tax rises and weaker consumer demand.

In late 2014, Bibendum itself merged with PLB group to create a Bibendum-controlled wine merchant with close to £300m in annual net sales. It merged Bibendum’s traditional stronghold of restaurant supply with PLB’s focus on retailers.

Last October, Conviviality bought drinks supplier Matthew Clark for around £200m.

Diane Hunter, CEO of Conviviality, said, ‘The acquisition of Bibendum PLB accelerates our aim to satisfy all of our customers who want to consume alcoholic beverages at home or out of home, whatever the occasion, serving customers directly via retail outlets and indirectly through hospitality and foodservice channels.’

On cost savings, she added, ‘We believe the acquisition will give rise to significant potential synergies.’

The move gives Conviviality a stronger presence in London and the south-east of England, a potentially lucrative avenue for the firm.

Bibendum PLB generated £270m in sales in the financial year to the end of March 2016, Conviviality said. From this, operating profits – before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and exceptional items, is expected to be £6.67m. Those figures were unaudited at the time of writing.

Conviviality said it would raise £32m to contribute to the acquisition by placing just over 15.6m shares in the capital of the company.

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