Beer takes wine, as Heineken buys Distell

The Dutch beer company has made a takeover offer.

The Nederburg winery is part of Distell's portfolio
The Nederburg winery is part of Distell's portfolio

On 15 November 2021, Heineken made a takeover offer to the shareholders of South African wine and spirits group Distell. The offer values Distell shares at 40.1 South African rand (approximately €2.2 billion). The offer was preceded by months of analysis and talks.

If the takeover is successful, Distell will be divided in two. The part of the company that includes cider, ready-to-drink beverages, spirits and wine will be combined with Heineken's existing businesses in South Africa, Namibia and East Africa under the – presumably temporary - umbrella name of Newco. The remaining parts of Distell are to be transferred to a Distell subsidiary called Capevin. Distell’s many wine brands include Nederburg, Chateau Libertas, Neethlingshof, JC Le Roux, Pongrascz and Fleur du Cap, Zonnebloem

Distell CEO Richard Rushton has welcomed Heineken's bid, saying "The offer is a demonstration of the strength of Distell's leading position in South Africa and growth in selected African markets, together with the value of our brands and people, which have the potential to create significant value for our shareholders immediately."

Heineken's CEO Dolf van den Brink is also excited about the merger: "Together we will be able to better serve our consumers and customers through a unique combination of leading brands across multiple categories and an increased market presence. The companies share common values stemming from family heritage, long-term perspectives, entrepreneurial spirit and respect for people and the planet." 

Key to the deal is the mid-long term potential of the developing African markets, for beer and more particularly premium wines and spirits.
Caption: Nederburg is part of Distell

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