DLA and Ropes toast roles on private equity investment in 'punk’ brewer BrewDog

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DLA Piper and Ropes & Gray have won roles on Scottish ‘punk’ brewery BrewDog’s £213m sale of a 22.3% stake to US private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners.

The deal values the Scottish craft brewer, which was founded in 2007, at approximately £1bn.

DLA Piper picked up a first-time mandate for BrewDog, fielding a team led by Scottish managing partner Simon Rae and Leeds corporate partner John Gallon.

Ropes is acting for regular client TSG with a team co-led by London private equity partner Kiran Sharma and Boston M&A partner Chris Comeau.

The brewer has carried out four rounds of crowdfunding, dubbed ‘equity for punks’, and following TSG’s investment, those who invested in the first round of crowdfunding in 2010 will have seen a 2,765% increase in the value of their shares, based on the £1bn valuation of the company.

Sharma commented: “This deal illustrates an interesting trend – private equity houses are increasingly willing to make minority investments rather than go down the usual full buyout or at least control route.”

Since its launch, BrewDog has opened a string of bars across the UK and Europe and is now targeting the US for expansion.

Co-founder James Watt said: “Our new partnership with TSG is a launchpad for us to turbocharge our mission to make the world as passionate about craft beer as we are, but it’s also a validation of our crowdfunding model. Our ‘equity punks’ now own part of an independent business that has attracted an awesome partner who will help grow their investment even further. Crowdfunding can no longer be viewed as alternative finance; this is the democratisation of finance.”

BrewDog’s beers include Punk IPA, Dead Pony Club and Jet Black Heart. It has received widespread press attention for its attempts to brew increasingly strong beers, which include 2009’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin at 32%, 2010’s Sink the Bismark at 40% and 2016’s The End of History at 55%.