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M&A partnership seals transformational deal for InVivo Group and Baarsma Wine

Baarsma Wine Group (“Baarsma”), the international wine-trade house with a broad selection of quality wines, operates a well-established distribution network across North-West Europe. Founded some 30 years ago in the Netherlands, Baarsma has become one of the top European players in the wine market, with an annual turnover of over EUR 210 million in retail and foodservice. The company was looking for new strategic shareholders to help it broaden its international presence and leverage its supply chain following the sale of its online wine division to a private equity investor early 2016.

The opportunity arrived late 2015 when the discussions began with French agricultural cooperative InVivo Group (“InVivo”) about their expansion strategy. InVivo founded a wine division in 2015 with a strategy to build global brands in French wines and to implement a strong multi-channel distribution network across the world. InVivo currently has an annual turnover of EUR 6.4 billion and a presence in 31 countries.

The assignment

Soon to be finalised, the merger agreement is the outcome of a bilateral dialogue between Baarsma and InVivo that was initiated by NIBC’s Food, Agri, Retail & Healthcare (FAR&H) team. We acted as joint financial advisor to InVivo together with our French affiliate partner SODICA, the mid-market corporate finance division of Crédit Agricole. We have worked with SODICA several times in recent years and in July 2015 we formalised an exclusive cooperation for cross-border M&A transactions with France.

Adding value

Over the past decade, we have applied our expertise in the wine sector to nurture a dialogue with Baarsma management and its shareholders. Our industry contacts and expert understanding of its dynamics enabled us to provide information on trends, development and M&A opportunities. Through our cooperation with SODICA, and its longstanding relationship with InVivo Group, we were able to provide the right team-up for winning and delivering the M&A mandate.

Delivering results

This transformational merger will see InVivo Wine and Baarsma Wine Group and their subsidiaries continue to operate autonomously and under their well-established names, with Baarsma management in the Netherlands playing a leading role in InVivo's expansion outside France.InVivo Wine’s strategy is to accelerate its development internationally so as to build access to markets and create added value for the wine industry from grapes to consumers. Baarsma will be a key distribution platform for InVivo Wine in Europe and will perfectly complement existing footholds and those currently in development within the group, especially in Asia and North America. With Baarsma, 80% of InVivo Wine’s current operations will be international, aiming to achieve a turnover of EUR 500 million by 2020 on the international scene. – Bertrand Girard, Managing Director InVivo Wine

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