Henkell completes Freixenet acquisition and creates world's largest sparkling wine group

Henkell has completed its acquisition of fellow sparkling wine giant Freixenet after gaining approval from the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

It makes the group the world’s largest supplier of bubbly, with Freixenet joining the likes of Mionetto in a wide portfolio of sparklers.

The German firm has purchased a 50.67% controlling stake in the business from the Hevia and Bonet families. It will enter a period of “extensive cooperation” with the remaining Freixenet shareholders, José Ferrer Sala and José Luis Bonet Ferrer.

Sala, honorary president of Freixenet, said: “The cooperation with Henkell will not only give continuity to Freixenet, a company renowned for its tradition, but will also strengthen its international leadership in the world of cava.”

Henkell’s UK arm, Copestick Murray, will merge with Freixenet UK to create the UK’s largest sparkling wine supplier.

“This is very exciting news for all concerned and I am really looking forward to working with the Freixenet portfolio,” said managing director Robin Copestick. “It is a fantastic brand, which is having some tremendous success in the UK and all around the world.”

Copestick Murray has already enjoyed tremendous success with its i heart Prosecco brand, which is now the third bestselling Prosecco in the UK. It has grown sales by 80% in the past year to reach the £24 million mark (IRI), vastly outstripping its rivals.

It is also seeing growth in the Mionetto brand as it gains more distribution, while Freixenet is another star performer in the UK sparkling wine category, so it now has a market-leading portfolio.

The new Freixenet board of directors will be led by two co-presidents, Bonet and Dr Albert Christmann, general partner of Dr August Oetker KG, which owns Henkell.

Christmann said: “Henkell and Freixenet share a deep understanding of tradition, quality and continuity. The strategic partnership will help to develop new business opportunities, strengthening our market positions in the growing global sparkling wine market.”

Ferrer added: “The cooperation with a partner like Henkell, which has substantial sector expertise on a global level, will help Freixenet maintain its identity and accelerate its international expansion.”

Further members of the board will include Demetrio Carceller Arce, president of S.A. Damm, who will contribute his expertise in the beverage industry, as well as Pedro Ferrer and Dr. Andreas Brokemper, spokesman of Henkell’s management, who both will become managing directors.

Arce said: “After many years of friendly relations between the Oetker and Carceller families at Damm, where I am on the board with Dr. August Oetker, I am very happy to be part of this joint new project at the emblematic company Freixenet.”

Enrique Hevia Ferrer, spokesman for the selling shareholders, added: “The sale of our shares is a very emotional moment for us. In Henkell we found the perfect partner for Freixenet. Our families would like to thank all employees for their hard work and loyalty over the years and wish Freixenet all the best for the future.”

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