Piper Exits Bottlegreen Holdings

London-based buyout shop Piper has exited its majority stake in UK-based soft drink maker Bottlegreen Holdings Limited, selling the company to Irish food group SHS. Piper said Wednesday that it inked a 5x multiple on its four year investment in Bottlegreen. The firm poured 5 million pounds into Bottlegreen in 2007. Piper was advised by KPMG and Bond Pearce. SHS was advised by Grant Thornton and McGrigors.


Piper, a leading private equity specialist in consumer brands, has sold its majority shareholding in Bottlegreen Holdings Limited, the UK’s premium adult soft drinks business, to SHS, the Northern Irish-based food group who own a number of successful drinks brands including Shloer, WKD and Merrydown. As a result of the sale, Piper has achieved a 5x multiple on its four year investment. Some members of the management team will retain shareholdings in the group.

Since Piper’s (GBP)5m investment in 2007, Bottlegreen has become an iconic brand stocked by all the major UK multiples with a fast-growing international presence. Over the period of the investment, consumer awareness of the brand in the UK jumped from 5% in 2007 to 15% in 2010.

During its involvement with Bottlegreen, Piper has worked closely with management to help develop the business, which has involved a major re-branding of the products, the creation of a direct communication strategy with consumers and a focus on driving significant sales increases and an 11% improvement in margin.

Simon Speers, who led the original MBO backed by Piper, stated: “As a management team we are extremely proud of the work we have done to grow Bottlegreen into such a successful business and a brand our customers love. The partnership we have had with Piper has been excellent and throughout its investment the team have been incredibly supportive, providing expertise and resources when required to help us be our best. I look forward to working with the SHS Group to further build on the company’s brand success.”

George Adams, of Piper, commented: “When we invested in Bottlegreen we understood that we had an opportunity to work with an excellent management team to refresh the brand, broaden its distribution and extend the product range to take advantage of changing consumer tastes for more natural, healthy adult soft drinks. In doing so we have helped create an iconic brand that customers really value and achieved a stunning return for our investors, which is exactly what Piper exists to do.”

Andrew Hodgson, from KPMG Corporate Finance, commented: “Bottlegreen is the leading premium adult soft drink brand in the UK and its management has grown the business to a point where there is real traction with not only the major supermarkets but also the on-trade. This business has huge on-trade and export potential and SHS is the ideal partner to support Bottlegreen with its continued growth.”

Piper was advised by KPMG (Corporate Finance) and Bond Pearce (Legals). SHS was advised by Grant Thornton (FDD) and McGrigors (LDD).

About Piper (www.piperprivateequity.com)
Piper is a leading private equity firm specialising in consumer brands with strong growth potential. Founded in 1986, it has an enviable record of transforming businesses into iconic brands — previous investments include Boden, Las Iguanas and Maximuscle. Piper also devised the concept of the “female-friendly” bar by founding and developing the Pitcher & Piano chain. Piper focuses on MBO, MBI or growth capital investments in the sectors of retail, leisure, consumer products and services, requiring (GBP)3m-(GBP)15m of equity.