Campari to buy the “Old man of rum”

Grupo Campari, the Italian branded alcoholic beverage provider, yesterday announced its intended acquisition of 81% of the Jamaican rum maker Lascelles de Mercado & Co for USD 414m. Lascelles de Mercado has been making rum at the Appleton Estate in Jamaica since 1749 and markets itself as the “Old man of rum” on a global basis, with most of its international sales originating in the US and Latin America.

Grupo Campari has been progressively expanding its reach outside of Western Europe for a number of years now. But the last four years have seen it focus much more on a series of acquisitions that have opened up international markets for the group, lessening its dependency upon its traditional product range and acquiring brands to suit all palates. Acquisitions have included; Sagatiba Brasil, the producer of the Brazilian Cachaca liquor, Pernod Ricard’s Wild Turkey bourbon, the distinctive Scottish liquors of Frangelico, Irish Mist and Carolans Irish Cream from William Grant & Sons, and Cabo Wabo Tequila, among others.

This deal will be its largest after its purchase of the Wild Turkey business, but according to the press release, enables Campari to “enhance its critical mass in key Americas markets – including the US, Canada, Mexico and the Carribbean”, so is obviously viewed as strategically significant.

Filed under: Europe, Italy, Jamaica, M&A, rum, dealmaking