C&C poised to buy Conviviality’s wholesale business


Irish cider giant C&C Group is in talks with embattled Conviviality to buy the wholesale division of the company, Conviviality Direct. Confirming the discussions, Conviviality added that it is also seeking potential buyers for its retail business, which include brands like Bargain Booze and Wine Rack.

C&C said that the proposed acquisition, with the support of AB InBev, is conditional upon, amongst other things, the appointment of administrators to Conviviality, which is expected to occur later today (April 4).

Conviviality has on March 29 decided to file for administration after its equity fundraising plan for £125 million didn’t yield intended results. The company was facing a £30 million tax bill, due to an “arithmetic error” made in its expected profit. The bill was due to be paid on March 29.

Conviviality Direct is the UK’s largest independent wholesaler to the on-trade drinks sector, serving over 23,000 outlets through two businesses, Matthew Clark and Bibendum. Its other wholesale brands include Catalyst, Peppermint, Elastic and Walker & Wodehouse.

Stephen Glancey, Group CEO of C&C, commented: “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.”