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KPS forms North American Breweries

New York, NY (February 23, 2009) — KPS Capital Partners, LP (“KPS”) today announced the formation of North American Breweries, Inc., a national platform for investments and growth in the beer and malt beverage industries, as well as its first three transactions:

  • An agreement to acquire Labatt USA from Interbrew International B.V., a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev (Euronext: ABI).
  • The acquisition of substantially all of the assets of High Falls Brewing Company, LLC.
  • The acquisition of a perpetual license for the Seagram’s Cooler Escapes and Seagram’s Smooth brands from Pernod Ricard USA, LLC.

Financial terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

Raquel Vargas Palmer, a Partner of KPS, said, “The formation of North American Breweries gives us an outstanding growth platform in the beer and malt beverage industries that is exceptionally positioned to create value for our investors. With the acquisition of the High Falls Brewery, we purchased one of the largest independent breweries in the United States with exceptional brewing capabilities, a committed workforce and a nationwide distribution network. With High Falls we also acquired the Genesee and Dundee brands, and a perpetual license for the Seagram’s Escape and Smooth brands, which range from historic to relatively young brands that will benefit from a renewed focus and investment.

“The acquisition of High Falls was the result of a complex, multi-constituency recapitalization and restructuring transaction,” Ms. Palmer continued. “The hard work by many organizations and individuals to complete this transaction demonstrates the effectiveness of the KPS investment strategy. The transaction could not have occurred without the support of the City of Rochester and the County of Monroe and the commitment of its public officials. We also thank the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for their support and encouragement. “We are extremely excited to invest in the Labatt brands in the United States. We intend to continue to focus on the authenticity, taste and quality that one associates with this historic Canadian brand. “We intend to continue to grow North American Breweries aggressively, both organically and through acquisition of new brands and exceptional breweries,” Ms. Palmer concluded.

James Pendegraft, President of Labatt USA, said, “KPS recognizes the significant value we have created in the Labatt brand by promoting superb products and maintaining a strong commitment to our consumers. We look forward to working with our distributors, customers, and employees to continue to build a very successful company.”

The Labatt USA acquisition is subject to approval by the Department of Justice and customary closing conditions. It is expected that the transaction will be completed soon after the Department of Justice approval is received.

Financing for the acquisition will be provided by KPS Capital Finance Management LLC. Jenner & Block LLP acted as legal counsel to KPS and North American.

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