Conviviality Retail in talks to buy Bibby’s Rhythm & Booze stores

Kasmira Jefford
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BARGAIN Booze owner Conviviality Retail confirmed yesterday it is in talks with rival off-licensing group Bibby Retail Services to buy a portfolio of stores as it seeks to gain a greater foothold in Yorkshire.

The company, which floated on Aim last year, is understood to be interested in buying around 20 of the 50 shops, trading as Rhythm & Booze.

Bibby, which also owns Costcutter, bought Rhythm & Booze two years ago after it fell into administration.

Conviviality said any deal, if successful, would be funded through existing resources, without disclosing the size of the acquisition.

“Conviviality continues to look for value-enhancing investments and to manage our existing portfolio in order to maximise value for all our shareholders,” it said in a statement.

The group, which raised around £64m in its July share placing, is eyeing further bolt-on acquisition to expand its presence both in its north west heartland as well as the south east of England.

In September it bought Wine Rack and its 22 stores for £1.65m in cash in September, boosting its footprint in the London, where it hopes to widen its appeal to more affluent shoppers.

In January the company unveiled its maiden set of results as a listed company, reporting that half year profit before tax increased by 13.6 per cent to £2.2m.

Revenues were £183.7m, down from £193.4m over the same period last time round, as the group closed stores in order to open better quality sites.


1 Director Nick Cowles is part of a team that has helped lead Zeus to the top of the Aim adviser rankings, acting on Boohoo’s recent IPO.

2 Cowles was one of Zeus’s first employees, joining fresh from university when it was set up in 2004. He has since worked on deals including Sun Capital’s £41m acquisition of Jacques Vert in 2011.

3 He has also acted on the takeovers of Sunderland Football Club, and West Bromwich Albion Football Club. However, he’s a fan of Tottenham Hotspur himself.

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Zeus Capital brought Conviviality Retail to market last year and acts as nominated adviser and joint broker to the firm alongside Panmure Gordon. Zeus joint chief executive John Gold heads up the corporate broking team while director Andrew Jones works with Cowles on corporate finance.