Duke Street to cash in on French drinks firm

The Paris office of the European buyout firm is to sell Marie Brizard to French trade buyer Belvedere.

UK and French mid-market buyout firm Duke Street Capital has entered into exclusive talks to sell a majority stake in Paris-listed French drinks company Marie Brizard to Polish vodka distributor Belvedere.

Marie Brizard said on its website that Duke Street Capital will sell its holding to Belvedere for €141 per share, valuing the company at €308 million ($364 million). The €141 per share offer represents a premium of 32.3 percent on Marie Brizard’s Friday closing price of €106.

Duke Street Capital backed an MBI of Marie Brizard in April 2000 for an undisclosed sum, acquiring 57% of shares before raising its stake to 69.3 percent the following month.

Duke Street Capital was not immediately available for comment.

Founded in Bordeaux in 1755, Marie Brizard sells around 200 million bottles of liqueurs and alcoholic drinks per year, via distribution subsidiaries in France and Spain, and exports to over 120 countries.

Duke Street Capital has offices in London and Paris and focuses on mid-market leveraged buy-outs in the hotel and leisure, healthcare and consumer goods sectors. The firm’s most recent French transactions were the acquisition of Paris-based private hospitals company Groupe Proclif in October and the sale of hotel company Financière Galaxie to Paris-listed private equity group Eurazeo in July 2005, both for undisclosed sums.