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Campari acquires bourbon business with $600M Kentucky distillery deal

Food And Beverage

Campari acquires bourbon business with $600M Kentucky distillery deal

Italian liquor group Campari said it had reached an agreement to buy an initial 70% stake in Wilderness Trail Distillery for $420 million, consolidating its bourbon offer.

Under the deal, Campari has the option to buy the remaining 30% of the Kentucky-based producer of bourbon and rye whiskey in 2031.

The acquisition implies a current business value of $600 million, which makes it the Italian group’s second most significant acquisition after it acquired Grand Marnier in 2016.

In a statement, CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz said by adding the fast-growing super-premium Wilderness Trail brand they would further expand and premiumize the group’s bourbon offering, priming it to become Campari Group’s second major part after the aperitif portfolio.

He added that the acquisition allowed the group to significantly expand its production capacity and aging inventory to satisfy the future growth of Campari’s premium bourbons.

The Italian aperitif maker said it would finance the deal and the deal is expected to close before the end of 2022. The deal will be financed with a combination of available cash and bank term loans, increasing the existing net debt/EBITDA-adjusted ratio from 1.5x to 2.3x.

Founded in 2012, Wilderness Trail Distillery expects sales to jump 39% to $57 million in 2022, with core earnings of $37 million.

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