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FB Roundup: Bacardi, Lidl, and C&A

Bacardi buys Patron for $5.1 billion, Lidl slows US expansion, and C&A eyes China

Bacardi buys Patrón for $5.1 billion

Family-owned Bacardi is tapping into the growing popularity of tequila, buying premium brand Patrón.

The companies said in a statement tequila is one of the fastest-growing categories in the spirits industry, with “Patrón being the clear market leader in the super-premium segment”.

“Super-premium brands continue to experience the fastest growth, and the trend is expected to continue,” the statement said.

The deal gave Patrón a market capitalisation of $5.1 billion. Bacardi already owned 30% of the tequila company, but is now its sole owner.

Controlled by the seventh generation of the eponymous family, Bacardi has a 200-brand portfolio including Grey Goose, Dewar’s, Bombay Sapphire, Martini, and St-Germain.

It was founded nearly 156 years ago in Santiago de Cuba and employs about 5,500 staff, selling its brands in 170 countries.

Patrón was founded by entrepreneurs John Paul DeJoria and the late Martin Crowley in 1989.

Lidl slows US expansion

Lidl’s US expansion is progressing more slowly than expected, with some planned stores reportedly cancelled altogether as the German discount grocer fails to woo American customers.

In mid-2017 Lidl launched the first of 100 planned stores in the US, but had so far opened only half these and was now switching focus from its traditional big box stores to smaller formats, Reuters reported.

Lidl, owned by family business Schwarz Gruppe, has abandoned some planned stores in states including Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to German newspaper Handelsblatt. Lidl told the paper it could not confirm or deny the rumours, but that its portfolio was “constantly evolving”.

However, Lidl is enjoying buoyant success in the UK as the fastest-growing grocery chain, with sales soaring 16% in December.

Schwarz Gruppe, owned by the Schwarz family, had a turnover of more than $95 billion in the financial year ending 2016. The majority of its revenue comes from Lidl, though it also owns more than 1,100 Kaufland supermarkets.

C&A eyes China expansion

German fashion retailer C&A is plotting an expansion into China, it has confirmed, amidst rumours it may even sell to a Chinese buyer.

Parent company COFRA Group, owned by the German-Dutch Brenninkmeijer family, issued a statement to Reuters in response to rumours it may sell to unnamed Chinese investors.

The company said it was committed to “future-proofing” the business and was embarking on a transformation programme.

“The ongoing transformation of C&A includes an investigation of ways to accelerate in high growth priority areas.”

These included “China, emerging markets and digital and ... could potentially include partnerships and other types of additional external investment.”

C&A was founded by brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer in 1841 when its first store opened in the Netherlands. The holding company, COFRA Group, was established in 1911 and today controls billions in assets mainly across retail, real estate, financial services, and private equity.

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