Belfast Telegraph

Conviviality’s Bargain Booze sold to wholesaler Bestway

Around 2,000 jobs are understood to have been safeguarded as part of the deal.

Food wholesaler Bestway has acquired the retail arm of beleaguered Conviviality in a £7 million deal that includes Bargain Booze.

Bestway, founded and chaired by billionaire Sir Anwar Pervez, will also seize control of Wine Rack, WS Retail and Select Convenience.

Around 2,000 jobs are understood to have been safeguarded as part of the deal, which was conducted via a pre-pack administration process.

A pre-pack involves a pre-arranged buyer cherry-picking the best assets of a company at a knockdown price.

PwC handled the sale and administration process.

Conviviality confirmed its intention to appoint administrators last week after a string of profit warnings and the discovery of a £30 million tax bill, putting over 2,600 jobs at risk.

Bestway is one of Britain’s biggest food wholesalers serving thousands of retailers, as well as owning the Well pharmacy chain.

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Anwar Pervez Multicultural Awards

Conviviality’s retail arm operates more than 800 stores.

On Wednesday, Magners owner C&C snapped up Conviviality’s wholesale arm, also through a pre-pack administration.

The Irish cider giant said that, with the support of drinks group AB InBev, it had bought Conviviality brands Matthew Clark, Bibendum, Catalyst, Peppermint, Elastic and Walker & Wodehouse for a nominal sum.

The break up of Conviviality marks a pathetic end for the firm.

In the space of a few weeks its chief executive Dianna Hunter has stepped down, while it has issued a string of profit warnings and revealed a £30 million tax bill.

The black hole created what the company called a “short-term funding requirement” and its shares were suspended.

Conviviality was then forced to go cap-in-hand to investors to raise £125 million as a result, but has been unable to convince them of its long-term future.

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