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Lloyds and foreign rival in showdown over Halewood, maker of Crabbie’s

Private equity arm of Lloyds and foreign rival in showdown over future of maker of Crabbie’s

Ben Harrington For The Mail On Sunday

The private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group is in talks to buy a substantial stake in Halewood Wines & Spirits as part of a deal that could value the maker of Crabbie’s ginger beer at up to £300million.

City sources said Lloyds Development Capital is toughing it out in the final stages of a sale process for Halewood – which also owns Lambrini sparking wine and City of London Gin – with a rival bidder.

The identity of the rival has not emerged, but sources said it is believed to be an overseas firm.

Popular: Halewood owns brands including Crabbie’s ginger beer

Popular: Halewood owns brands including Crabbie’s ginger beer

Popular: Halewood owns brands including Crabbie’s ginger beer

Most of Merseyside-based Halewood is owned by the executors of the late founder John Halewood, family trusts and John’s widow Judy, with small stakes held by management.

Judy, who chairs Halewood Wines & Spirits, hired bankers from NM Rothschild in May. She inherited the firm from John who launched it in 1978 as Halewood Vintners.

Over the next 30 years it grew into one of Britain’s largest alcohol distributors. The couple raced horses in the Grand National including 2004 winner Amberleigh House.

Halewood’s Crabbie’s brand used to sponsor the showpiece Aintree race. Halewood made a pretax profit of £4.8million from sales of £216.7million last year.

The move by Lloyds Development Capital appears to counter speculation that dealmaking in the UK will dive amid uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit.

In August, Lloyds Development Capital invested in exhibitions company FC Business Intelligence, which runs events for the insurance, pharmaceuticals and energy industries. That deal is likely to have netted a multi-million pound cash payout for Guy Grant, the chairman of FC Business Intelligence.

The entrepreneur set up the business from a kitchen table in 1990.

A spokesperson for Halewood said: ‘It’s widely known that Halewood Wines & Spirits is considering sale options.

‘There’s strong interest in the company. No decisions have been made in relation to any offers or proposals for the business.’

Lloyds Development Capital declined to comment.

 

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