Target: Lucas Bols
Seller: Lucas Bols Shareholders
Advisory sell side: ABN AMRO Bank N.V. | Financial Advisory
Loyens & Loeff | Legal Advisory Corporate M&A
Buyer: Nolet Holding BV
Advisory buy side: Axeco | Financial Advisory
De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek | Legal Advisory Corporate M&A & Tax Advisory
Date announced: 2023-10-10

Dutch spirits company Lucas Bols, known for brands like Pisang Ambon and Bokma, is set to be acquired by industry peer Nolet for €18 per share, valuing Lucas Bols at nearly €270 million. This represents a 73% premium over the three-month average stock price. The merger aims for growth and not cost-cutting, focusing on innovation and product development, particularly in the non-alcoholic cocktail market. The deal also ensures Lucas Bols remains an independent entity with its headquarters in Amsterdam intact. Nolet, with its strong financial position, plans to support further acquisitions.

Both Lucas Bols and Nolet have deep historical roots in the spirits industry. Bols, founded in 1575, initially produced genever and later expanded into brandy and liqueurs. Last year, it generated €101 million in revenue, largely from international cocktail brands like Bols, Passoã, and Galliano. Nolet, established in 1691, began with jenever production and now derives a significant portion of its revenue from Ketel One vodka. In 2022, Nolet's revenue totaled €233 million.

Speculation about a potential takeover by Nolet has persisted since Lucas Bols went public in 2015. Nolet initially acquired a stake and gradually increased it to 25%. However, the Nolet family consistently maintained that their shares were a financial investment, not a precursor to an acquisition. Currently, Nolet holds 29.9% of Lucas Bols shares.

Nolet's offer is contingent on securing at least 70% of Lucas Bols shares, which may involve engaging with another jenever lineage. Corinne de Kuyper, a descendant of the family behind the Schiedam distillery, along with her husband Fons Walder, collectively own 15.01% of the shares.

This acquisition bid by Nolet represents a positive turn for Lucas Bols shareholders, as the company's stock has traded below its 2015 debut price of €15.75 for years. Notably, CEO Huub van Doorne, CFO Frank Cocx, and Chairman René Hooft Graafland are all in support of Nolet's offer and plan to sell their shares. Van Doorne, with 781,000 shares, is the largest shareholder of the three, making his holdings worth over €14 million at the €18 offer price.