Campari purchasing Grand Marnier in $759 million deal

Campari, the parent of Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, announced Tuesday that it has agreed to buy Grand Marnier in a friendly takeover worth about $759 million.

The iconic premium French liqueur, a blend of cognac and the essence of bitter orange, is one of the world’s most recognized spirits and a key ingredient in many cocktails. The spirit was founded in 1827.

“This acquisition represents a perfect fit with our external growth strategy in terms of brand profile, distribution and financial framework,” said Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz, in a news release.

“With Grand Marnier,” he added, “we further consolidate our position as the leading purveyor of premium liqueurs and bitter specialties worldwide.”

This is the first major purchase for Campari since 2014’s acquisition Canadian whisky Forty Creek.

Campari will initially buy about 20 percent of the shares of the family-controlled Société des Produits Marnier Lapostolle, the maker of Grand Marnier. Campari will buy the rest of the family’s holdings by 2021 and look to acquire remaining shares at a 60 percent premium to the stock’s closing price on Friday.

Campari also will get exclusive distribution of the Grand Marnier spirits portfolio.

In 2015, Grand Marnier’s parent company had revenue of $169 million, excluding profits from distribution.

Campari said it may sell its villa and botanical gardens, known as Villa les Cedres in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, an exclusive peninsular town east of Nice, on the Mediterranean coast. The sale would net Campari a maximum of $89 million.