William McConnell, the former managing director at Lascelles deMercado and Company, has endorsed the acquisition of Lascelles by Campari Group.
McConnell last year led a failed hostile takeover of Lascelles.
He argued that Campari's marketing skills and access to international distribution ought to increase the sale of Wray & Nephew's rum brands, which in turn should lead to more production and jobs at the company.
"I was delighted to hear the news that Campari would acquire Lascelles. The Wray & Nephew rum brands will benefit greatly as they are a good fit for the Campari portfolio, because Campari now does not own a rum brand," said the Jamaican businessman and former owner of the spirits conglomerate.
"Campari has great marketing expertise and has access to international distribution channels, especially in US and Europe. So you combine Campari's distribution, skills and capabilities and you will have something that is very good for the Appleton brand," he told Wednesday Business.
He added that "locally owned spirit brands can only go so far in international markets".
McConnell was a bit more measured in his assessment of how the sale would impact Jamaica.
"I think from a position of nationalistic pride, it is good to say the brands are owned by Jamaicans. But over time, in all likelihood, there will be significant increases in sales volumes, which will result in more production emanating from Jamaica. This
should result in more jobs in Jamaica with attendant increases in taxes being remitted to the Jamaican coffers. So from that standpoint it is better," he said.
McConnell said that it was difficult to comment on the offer price because he does not have "any details", but said US$415 million (J$32.2 billion) seemed fair.
"I think that the price offered in today's environment is a good price," he said, recalling that preceding the 2008 world economic crisis companies offered up to 25 times EBITA when acquiring brands.
McConnell headed Lascelles during its 2008 acquisition by CL Financial when majority ownership transferred to Trinidad & Tobago-based CL Financial. He remarked that at that time it was sold because "it was an offer you couldn't refuse".
"It was during the pre-world economic crisis period when large spirit companies were trying to acquire brands with international potential," he added.
Last year, after retiring from Lascelles, McConnell was invited to chair Black Sand Acquisition Inc, which offered some US$385 million to acquire Lascelles.
However, a series of court battles between Lascelles' new majority owner and management versus Black Sand, and also the Financial Services Commission over technicalities in Black Sand's offer eventually led to its stillbirth.