Campari close to buying global distribution business of French cognac maker Grand Marnier Group

Italian distiller Davide Campari-Milano SpA, is close to buying the global distribution business of French cognac maker Grand Marnier Group, Bloomberg yesterday reported, citing a person familiar with the process.

A deal could be announced as early as today and Grand Marnier's shares were yesterday suspended in advance of an announcement.

Grand Marnier, which produces cognac, armagnac, pineau and wines, had been working with Rothschild to explore strategic options for the business including a sale, the report said.

Grand Marnier stock has risen by 17 per cent over the past twelve months, giving it a market value of €427 million ($470 million).

Grand Marnier's distribution is currently shared around the globe by Moet Hennessy, Diageo Plc and several independent wholesalers, the report added.

Marnier-Lapostolle, the company that makes Grand Marnier, was founded in 1827 by Jean-Baptiste Lapostolle by putting up a modest distillery in Neauphle-le-Château, a small village near Paris.

The distillery soon acquired a reputation for fine fruit liqueurs and has now become the world's fifth largest buyer of Cognac.

The distillery's fortunes dramatically changed when the business was taken over by Eugéne Marnier Lapostolle, the founder's son and his son-in-law, Louis-Alexandre Marnier. Today Grand Marnier is sold in more than 150 countries.
Grand Marnier was originally named 'Curaçao Marnier' in line with the company's range of liqueurs.

Today, the Marnier-Lapostolle family still owns Sociéé des Produits Marnier Lapostolle. The current chairman, Jacques Marnier-Lapostolle runs the company alongside other fifth generation family members.