Tuesday, 22 December 2015
Camden Brewery Exit
Camden Brewery, who raised almost £3m on Crowdcube only this summer, have sold out to global drinks giant AB InBev.
The deal leaves the Crowdcube investors with a return of roughly 70%. Rumour is that AB paid around £85m. During the Crowdcube pitch the business was being valued at £50m. Not bad for a short journey.
It does seem odd that Camden would go to all the trouble of getting over 1000 investors on board and then sell up. Jasper Cuppaidge, friends and family who own 95% of the company are the real gainers. It must have been just too tempting to cash in. Maybe this deal was struck before the Crowdcube campaign and AB wanted to see the pulling power the brand had? Or maybe the thought of having to raise another £6m in the next two years was just too much for the owners. We will never know which is a shame.
It certainly isnt the story that was being sold by Camden only a few months ago during their successful pitch. Investors might wonder if they would have seen the promised 10X returns if the Cuppaidge's had not wanted to cash in. It's just one of the many dimensions that ECf investors have so little control over. Crowdcube have a standard drag along clause for all B shareholders and with the majority ownership in the family, even A shareholders (£25k) would have had no say.
The craft brewers are all crying foul and it is true that once smaller brewers get taken over by the big boys the quality falls - Doom Bar for example.
Camden investors were EIS eligible but clearly that is now no longer the case with this early exit. Interesting to know how many investors have already ticked their claim box on their self assessment forms.
Listening to the comments from Jasper Cuppaidge, you would be forgiven for thinking that this Camden Brewery was different to the one who raised money on Crowdcube only a few months ago. Now, he says, the company could not hope to prosper without the investment from a company of ABs size. Dont remember reading that in the Crowdcube plan.
We await the Crowdcube press release and the spin they create over this. Whilst it is a return, along with the E Car Club deal, it is nowhere near to the kind of return the platform promotes. So two exits to date, both of which have returned only a fraction of the wealth promised. Better than nout and almost certainly better than any future Camden brew.