Oetker Group subsidiary Henkell has reached an agreement to buy 50.7% of Spanish cava producer Freixenet for just under €220 million.
Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reported that political uncertainties in Catalonia lowered the value of Freixenet and delayed the completion of the deal.
Remaining part of the European Union is vital for the company, which exports 80% of its production to 140 countries. It owns vineyards and brands in Argentina, Australia, Mexico and France.
Henkell, which also owns Cavas Hill in Spain, made an offer to buy Freixenet over 18 months ago, but the death of the sisters Carmen and Pilar Ferrer Sala, daughters of the founders of the company, as well as divisions among the owners, slowed the process down.
Freixenet president José Luis Bonet Ferrer said: “Over three generations, we have made Freixenet the world’s leading producer of cava. In Henkell we have found a strong partner with a long-term strategy which will significantly strengthen Freixenet and help us to maintain our identity and tradition – with an even stronger international presence in the future.”
Dr. August Oetker general partner Albert Christmann said: “The Oetker Group consequently continues the expansion of its areas of business. With the acquisition of the shares of Freixenet we will strengthen the international market position of our sparkling wine, wine and spirits division significantly while at the same time we build up a solid base for sustainable joint growth in that business.”
Henkell CEO Andreas Brokemper added: “Henkell and Freixenet share a strong entrepreneurial vision. We are delighted to realise as partners the opportunities of the globally growing sparkling wine market. Together, we can offer our customers not only global expertise but also a unique range of first-class brands and specialties.”
Several of Freixenet’s major shareholders, including presidents José Ferrer and José Luis Bonet, have retained their shares.
Last year Freixenet launched limited-edition sparkling rosé bottles to coincide with summer in the UK.
Figures released last year by the Spanish Observatory of the Wine Market showed that Spanish wine exports reached their highest ever level during the first half of 2017.
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