Stock Spirits swallowed up in £767m takeover

A Buckinghamshire-based vodka maker has become the latest business to join the private equity bandwagon with a £767 million deal.

“Mini-Diageo” Stock Spirits has accepted buyout firm CVC’s fifth unsolicited bid of 377p-a-share, a 41 per cent premium on its Wednesday share price.

“The offer reflects our strong position and represents compelling value for […] shareholders,” Stock Spirits chairman David Maloney said.

However, one analyst told The Times it was a “good offer but by no means a knockout bid”.

READ MORE: UK retail sales strong in July but stock levels slide

Shares rose 44 per cent to 368p amid hopes of a rival starting a bidding war.

CVC’s investment arm said it would develop Stock through a “leaner central overhead”, “rapid access to capital” and a “longer-term investment approach”.

The private equity group, which is based in Luxembourg, suggested it would move Stock’s headquarters to central Europe.

Its takeover is expected to be completed in the next four or five months.

Stock has performed strongly during the Covid-19 pandemic, with its six month profit to March 2021 increasing year-on-year by 91.6 per cent to €28.1 million.

However, it was hit last year by a €14.2m impairment loss after a failed investment in an Irish whiskey company.

Chief executive Miroslaw Stachowicz told investors that coronavirus had deprived the venture of its “most important brand-building tool”.

Despite its UK base, Stock’s 70 brands are focused on Poland, the Czech Republic and Italy, which account for 92 per cent of its sales.

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