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CVC funds to buy European vodka maker Stock Spirits for $1 billion (Aug. 12)

By Reuters

(Corrects paragraph 4 to remove reference to brand ‘Vodka No. 1′)

By Aby Jose Koilparambil and Sachin Ravikumar

-CVC-affiliated funds will buy London-listed Stock Spirits for about $1 billion, as the private equity firm looks to tap the popularity of its booze among millennials and women in central and eastern Europe.

The takeover offer by CVC Capital Partners-affiliated funds of 377 pence per share for Stock Spirits represents a premium of 41% to the stock’s close on Wednesday. The proposal values Stock Spirits at 767 million pounds ($1.06 billion). Shares in the company jumped 42.7% to 382.5 pence by 0725 GMT.

The agreement is the latest example of dealmaking involving private equity firms and UK-listed groups, whose valuations are relatively cheaper compared to U.S. companies.

Stock Spirits, which houses more than 70 brands including 1906 and Stock Prestige, gets 90% of its sales from Poland, the Czech Republic, and Italy. The company’s strategy is increasingly focused on premium drinks and brands appealing to younger adults and women.

“Stock Spirits benefits from a portfolio of established brands trading in key segments of the market and a strong track record of product innovation,” a statement from the two parties said.

For CVC, the deal is yet another focused on central and eastern Europe, where it has been a long-standing investor.

Since its founding in 1981, CVC has invested in companies from Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling to Formula One motor racing and more recently, Spain’s top soccer league. It currently has some $115 billion of assets under management.

($1 = 0.7211 pounds)