Consolidation within the wine and spirits space is ready to pop. Unlike the beer industry, where four brewers control roughly half the world’s production, distilled beverage makers are diverse.
“Typically where you see fragmentation, it sets up well for increased M&A activity,” says Jeff Golman (pictured), vice chairman of Mesirow Financial, calling the wine and spirits space “global by nature.”
Throughout 2015, expect to see many more companies arrive on the auction block or make their own acquisition offers.
M&A has stalled so far because most large distillers remain privately owned or family controlled, including Brown-Forman Corp., maker of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, and rum giant Bacardi Ltd. But consumers in growing regions such as Asia are beginning to trade down to value brands, a trend Diageo plc told reporters in 2014 that it had been slow to recognize.
The International Wines and Spirits Record, a London-based analysis group, forecast India to be one of the largest-growing spirits markets over the next five years. With China, India accounts for a rise of 120.5 million cases in yearly spirits consumption.
Cross-border deals are likely, Golman says, particularly among these larger liquor makers, as the world’s economies recover and the variety of different brands from smaller companies pique consumer interest.
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