Restaurants reassured over Bibendum and Matthew Clark sale

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurants reassured over Bibendum and Matthew Clark sale
Troubled drinks supplier Conviviality has sold its Conviviality Direct business - including the Bibendum and Matthew Clark brands - to C&C Group, the owner of Magners cider.

The deal was conditional on the company’s subsidiary, Conviviality Brands Ltd, appointing administrators – which it did yesterday (4 April).

Conviviality says the sale was the "best outcome" and that all restaurant, pub and hotel customers would continue to be supplied as normal.

The deal includes the disposal of Peppermint, the company’s outdoor events business, and Catalyst, its brand representation business. Other companies included in the deal include Walker & Wodehouse Wines, PLB Group and The Wondering Wine Company.

C&C is also set to provide “substantial” funding to ensure all creditors are paid in full. Over the next 12 months the company has agreed to pay £102m to secured lenders to repay the debt Conviviality Direct owes to banks.

All 1,9000 Conviviality Direct employees will keep their jobs.

It comes weeks after Conviviality, which was the largest independent drinks wholesaler in the UK, issued profit warnings and discovered a £30m unpaid tax bill​ due in March.

Chief executive Diana Hunter, who oversaw the purchase of Matthew Clark for £200m in 2015 and Bibendum for £60m in May 2016, stepped down last month after five years in the role.

Convivality says it is continuing to “pursue opportunities” in regards to the sale of its retail business, including the Bargain Booze and Wine Rack stores.

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