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Nyetimber to buy The Lakes Distillery in £46m deal

Published:  03 April, 2024

English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber has agreed a deal in principle to buy The Lakes Distillery in a £46.1m deal. 

The Lakes Distillery, which produces single malt whisky and other spirits, opened in 2012 near Bassenthwaite, complete with a visitor centre, artisan bar and shop. 

However, the distillery has run into recent financial trouble, accumulating a debt of £25.8m, which Nyetimber would inherit upon acquisition, bringing the true value of the acquisition to approximately £71m.

Following a £4.25m investment from Comhar Capital in 2020, The Lakes expanded its distillery to install eight new washbacks, tripling production at the site. 

According to The Business Desk, The Lakes directors will recommend the acquisition to its shareholders as it continues its journey to becoming, “a luxury international spirits brand”.

The Lakes CEO James Pennefather, formerly of William Grant & Sons, said: “The Lakes Board is enthusiastic about its ambitious future plans and the offer by Nyetimber offers the prospect of an owner with the same shared strategic vision and, crucially, certainty of funding.

“By joining the Nyetimber family of companies, The Lakes will benefit, in particular in terms of quality of production, brand marketing and routes to market. The Lakes Directors are confident that this will confer significant benefits to The Lakes’ long-term prospects both as a brand and as a company and the Nyetimber offer, which values The Lakes at an enterprise value of approximately £71.m, equivalent to a multiple of 12.2 times net revenues for FY23, represents not only the best way to ensure that The Lakes remains fully funded but also provides fair value for existing shareholders at this stage in The Lakes’ growth journey.

“We are pleased to recommend the acquisition to our shareholders and I look forward to working with Eric and the Nyetimber team as we continue our journey to build a luxury international spirits brand.”

Part of that vision will no doubt include Nyetimber’s on and off-trade channels, which include leading supermarkets Waitrose and M&S plus event partnerships with The Cheltenham Festival, The Queen’s Championships and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Eric Heerema, CEO of Nyetimber, added: “We are excited by the prospect of acquiring The Lakes, the leading English distiller of premium quality single malt whisky, gin and vodka.

“We believe that this potential acquisition represents an opportunity for us to expand our capabilities, drive exciting new growth and support The Lakes in delivering on its ambition to be a globally-recognised spirits brand.

“Not only do we have an inherent understanding and strong relationships with the world’s leading luxury restaurants, bars and retailers, but we also have a shared strategic vision.”