Labatt USA Parent Sold for $388M

October 29, 2012 Updated Oct 29, 2012 at 7:23 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

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October 29, 2012 Updated Oct 29, 2012 at 7:23 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Despite being sold, the local operations of North American Breweries should see little visible impact including maintaining the U.S. headquarters for Labatt USA in downtown Buffalo.

That's the observation from Richard Lozyniak, North American Breweries president. North American has been sold to Cerveceria Costa Rica for $388 million in cash, a deal that was announced Friday afternoon.

North American Breweries, headquartered in Rochester, is the parent company for such beers as Genesee, Dundee and owners of the U.S. rights to Canada's Labatt. Labatt is one of the Buffalo area's top selling beers.

The deal between KPS Capital Partners, North American Breweries parent company, and Cerveceria Costa Rica is expected to close later in the fourth quarter. KPS Capital Partners bought North American Breweries in 2009. Cerveceria is a subsidiary of Florida Ice and Farm Co. S.A.

"To all of our customers and consumers, they should see no change," Lozyniak said. "By far, this is the best outcome that could have occurred for us."

The deal will keep all of North American Breweries top officials in place in both Buffalo and Rochester. The company has 1,300 employees nationwide and approximately 600 people spread between Rochester and Buffalo. The firm sells, annually, more than 40 million cases of beer with Genesee and Labatt leading the way.

That KPS Capital Partners opted to sell North American Breweries is neither a shock or surprise. The deal had been rumored in various food and beverage industry circles since early summer.

"KPS, when they bought us, said they would like hold on to us for maybe three or five years," Lozyniak said. "And, that's exactly what happened."

Actually, there was a tight pre-existing bond between the two companies.

North American Breweries distributed such Cerveceria brands as Imperial, Pilsen, Rock Ice and Bavaria. In fact, North American Breweries is credited with a 300 percent growth of the Imperial brand in the U.S. during the past three years.

Imperial is sold in 23 states but Lozyniak said he expects to start a more aggressive marketing campaign to expand its reach and presence with beer drinkers.

"We knew each other well," Lozyniak said. "So when it became known we were for sale, it made sense that Cerveceria was interested."

Besides the Genesee and Labatt brands, North American Breweries either makes or distributes such brands as Dundee, Magic Hat and Pyramid. It also distributes some Seagrams products.

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