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With Play For Codorníu, The Carlyle Group Strikes Its Second Wine Deal Of 2018

June 29, 2018

The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, has made its second acquisition this year in the premium wine space, yesterday agreeing to purchase a majority stake in family-owned Cava producer Codorníu Raventós Group. The deal, which is still subject to due diligence and regulatory approval, values Codorníu Raventós at €390 million ($454m). The Spanish company’s holdings include 10 wineries across Spain, Argentina, and California—including its flagship Codorníu Cava estate—and more than 3,000 hectares of vineyards.

Earlier this spring, Codorníu Raventós reportedly spurned an offer from Carlyle, though the winemaker was courting buyers after a portion of its 216 shareholders announced plans to sell. The company reported €236 million ($274.7m) in revenue for the year ending June 2017. In the U.S. market, it operates through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Aveníu Brands. Much of the company’s recent focus in the U.S. has centered on its Anna de Codorníu range, an offshoot of its core Codorníu brand that’s positioned at the $10-$15 tier.

In a statement, Carlyle Europe Partners managing director Alex Wagenberg said that his firm would look to grow Codorníu Raventós’s global footprint, “both organically and through acquisitions.”

In April of this year, the Carlyle Group acquired Australia-based Accolade Wines from fellow private equity firm CHAMP for A$1 billion ($770m). The Accolade portfolio, which totals around 35 million cases globally, includes Hardys, Banrock Station, and other brands from Australia, as well as California’s Geyser Peak.

The Codorníu deal comes as Cava volumes have been outpaced by other sparkling wine categories in recent years—most notably Champagne and Prosecco. In the U.S. market, the total sparkling wine category was up 3% to just over 21 million 9-liter cases last year. Champagne’s U.S. volumes grew by 5% to 1.5 million cases last year, while Prosecco shipments were up 5% to 5.5 million cases. Cava, meanwhile, saw its shipments decline slightly, to around 1.75 million cases.—Christina Jelski

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