Republic National Distributing Co. LLC (RNDC), New Orleans, a distributor and broker of premium wine and spirits, and Breakthru Beverage Group LLC, New York, a distributor and broker of beer, wine and spirits in the United States and Canada, announced the execution of a Letter of Intent to combine their assets and operations.

“The merger of RNDC and Breakthru will create strategic opportunities that will benefit our associates and our business partners in a rapidly changing and highly competitive marketplace. Much more than a growth opportunity, we are entering this venture to create something that is different, sustainable and transformative,” RNDC President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Cole said in a statement. “Together, our deep bench of focused, diverse associates will bring great and unique advantages to our suppliers, our customers and the consumers who enjoy the products we represent.

“Across North America, the combined company of RNDC and Breakthru will benefit from a broadly expanded footprint, a passionate and creative team, and an uncompromising commitment to providing innovation, value and service to all our stakeholders,” Cole added.

Breakthru Beverage Group President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Baird added: “Breakthru looks forward to joining forces with RNDC to establish an even stronger foundation of industry knowledge, talent, history and heritage. We see this as the launch pad to bring innovation to life and to usher in a new era for our business and industry.”

Beverage alcohol industry trends and the greater consumer and retail environment show that there are compelling reasons for RNDC and Breakthru to expand their footprints and to become more responsive to the marketplace by recognizing the best practices and efficiencies of each business. Continuous innovation and agility are keys to wholesaler success as retail customers grow, and beverage alcohol suppliers seek to be increasingly nimble, efficient and responsive to evolving consumer demands, the companies say.

Even beyond the beverage alcohol industry, the retail marketplace is quickly and significantly changing. The merger of RNDC and Breakthru also will facilitate investments in technology that will enhance all aspects of their business, from supply chain management, customer and supplier connectivity, eCommerce, predictive analytics, digital marketing, data transparency, consumer experience and operational efficiency, they say.

Strengthened by their diverse experience and perspectives, best-in-class talent, and an unwavering commitment to innovation, the combination of RNDC and Breakthru Beverage will address key areas to provide a more agile service model for customers and suppliers across the United States and Canada, they add.

Under the terms of the Letter of Intent, Cole will serve as  chief executive officer; Bob Hendrickson as  chief operating officer; Danny Wirtz as  chief growth and strategy officer; and Baird as chief integration officer. E. Lloyd Sobel’s role will be announced along with other key senior management appointments prior to the close of the transaction.

The transaction, is expected to close late in the second calendar quarter of 2018 and is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, the companies say.