KPS brews up beer platform

The New York-based turnaround firm has made three acquisitions as part of the platform, including the purchase of Labatt USA for an undisclosed amount.

KPS Capital Partners has purchased Labatt USA for an undisclosed amount from Anheuser-Busch. It is part of its formation of North American Breweries, a national beer and malt beverage platform.

The New York-based firm also acquired High Falls Brewing Company, the maker of Genesee and Dundee beer brands, and acquired a license for the Seagram’s Cooler Escapes and Seagram’s Smooth malt beverages from the US arm of French company Pernod Ricard.

“We intend to continue to grow North American Breweries aggressively, both organically and through acquisition of new brands and exceptional breweries,” Raquel Vargas Palmer, a partner at KPS, said in a statement.

The Labatt USA deal is subject to approval by the US Department of Justice, KPS said. Labatt USA, based in Buffalo, New York, makes Labatt Blue, as well as several other drinks including Labatt Blue Light and Labatt Ice. The brand was founded in London, Ontario in 1847.

High Falls Brewing, based in Rochester, New York, brews the Genesee lines of beer, as well as Dundee Ales & Lagers brands, which included the Original Honey Brown Lager. The company also imports several brands, including Steinlager from New Zealand, Toohey’s New from Australia, Thwaites from the UK and Imperial from Costa Rica.

KPS, a distressed and turnaround firm, is investing from its $1.2 billion KPS Special Situations Fund III. The firm bought the 120-year-old china maker Lenox out of bankruptcy earlier this month. The firm also agreed to buy assets from china and crystal maker Waterford Wedgwood, which went into administration in January.