Gruppo Campari, Milan, signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Lascelles deMercado & Co. Ltd. (LdM), a publicly traded holding company based in Kingston, Jamaica, for nearly $415 million. This transaction marks the third largest acquisition in Gruppo Campari’s history following its purchase of Wild Turkey and Skyy Spirits. It also furthers the company’s global reach and strengthens its spirits portfolio.

Pursuing 81.4 percent ownership in the company, Gruppo Campari’s acquisition will be made through a formal tender offer to the LdM board and public shareholders to acquire all outstanding ordinary and preference shares pursuant to the Jamaican Takeover Code and applicable requirements. At the time of closing, LdM will comprise the spirits business, the related upstream supply chain and its local consumer products distribution business.

LdM’s spirits business includes rum brands Appleton Estate, Appleton Special/White, Wray & Nephew and Coruba. For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2011, the rum and spirits portfolio achieved a total sales volume of 3.5 million 9-liter cases and pro-forma sales of $265.4 million. Upstream supply chain operations consist of agricultural facilities, including sugar cane fields, two distilleries, one sugar factory, nine farms and 18 warehouses, all located in Jamaica, as well as a complete and deep inventory of aged rum to support the global expansion of the acquired business. The acquired business also includes local merchandising operations focused on the warehousing, sales, marketing and distribution of a wide range of third party branded products from well-known consumer goods companies.

“With Lascelles deMercado, the award-winning distiller of world-class premium dark, overproof and gold Jamaican rums, we are once again leveraging our acquisition framework in a very disciplined and consistent manner for future growth,” said Bob Kunze-Concewitz, chief executive officer of Gruppo Campari, in a statement. “The addition of the Appleton, Wray & Nephew and Coruba rum brands as well as a portfolio of local Jamaican brands will help us build our critical mass further in key North American markets, provide a leading market position in Jamaica, a major destination in the Caribbean, whilst laying the foundations for future international growth across all major usage occasions of the growing and premiumizing rum category. When completed, this acquisition will give a further boost to the internationalization of Gruppo Campari, further expanding our business outside of Italy, as well as strengthening our largest and most profitable business, the spirits segment.”

The completion of the acquisition and the formal tender offer process are subject to various closing conditions and are expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2012.