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BREAKING | New Belgium Reportedly Explores Possible Sale

New Belgium Brewing

Reuters reported this morning that New Belgium Brewing Company, the employee owned Fort Collins based brewery is exploring the possibility of a sale of the company. According to sources, the company is valued at approximately $1 Billion.

That valuation price point is in the same ballpark selling price as Ballast Point Brewing which was acquired by Constellation Brands earlier this year. Reuters is reporting that New Belgium has met with advisory firm Lazard Middle Market to discuss sale options. However after we spoke with a member of the New Belgium team it seems that no specific sale is currently in place.

“New Belgium Brewing’s Board of Directors has an obligation to have on-going dialogue with capital markets with the goal of making sure that we remain strong leaders in the craft brewing industry. There is no deal pending at this time,” said Kim Jordan, Co-Founder and Board of Directors Chair at New Belgium.

In October of this year, Jordan announced that she’d be stepping down from the role of CEO and named Christine Perich as her replacement. Perich helped oversee the company’s expansion to a second location in Asheville, NC.

As it stands, New Belgium is currently 100% employee owned. It became a 100% ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) as of December 29, 2013. However it should be noted that a majority of the shares are still controlled by an executive team referred to as COMPASS. After discussing with sources close to the brewery, it is still unclear whether or not a general employee vote would be required to complete such an acquisition should it arise.

Full Sail Brewing in Hood River, OR, was also partially employee owned before its employees voted to sell ownership to Encore Consumer Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm in May.

It should also be noted that Belgian, family owned Duvel-Moortgat, which owns Ommegang, as well as a majority stake in Boulevard and earlier this year announced a similar partnership of majority stake in Firestone Walker had put out a failed bid to purchase the Fort Collins based New Belgium Brewing just prior to former CEO and Co-Founder Kim Jordan’s decision to move the company to a 100% ESOP.

We will refrain from further speculation at this point and will continue to update the situation as we hear more news.

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