Ambrosi acquires Anthony Rowcliffe and Son Limited

Meta Corporate Finance Ltd

Deal type: Acquisition
Industry Sector: Food & Beverages
Completion date: 10th March 2020
Adviser(s): Meta Meta Corporate Finance Ltd

Ambrosi SpA (“Ambrosi”), the premium speciality Italian cheese producer, has acquired the Kent-based family-owned quality cheese and fine foods distributor Anthony Rowcliffe and Son Limited (“Rowcliffe”), to create a market-leading UK fine foods business.

Ambrosi, founded in 1942 to produce butter and distribute cheese, developed in the 1950s with the creation of the specific rules of the designation of Parmigiano and Grana Padano. The business is now a market leader in premium speciality Italian cheeses both domestically and internationally in over 60 countries.

Rowcliffe was founded in 1967 and pioneered a change in British attitudes to cheese. The company began importing speciality cheeses and sourcing from local farmhouse producers and was the first to introduce many of the European cheeses into the UK. Son of the founder and former Chairman, Tim Rowcliffe, is a leading industry figure. He was a former chairman of the Specialist Cheese Makers Association (SCA), founding corporate member of the Guild of Fine Food Retailers and currently a judge and founding member of the British Cheese Awards.

Ambrosi and Rowcliffe have worked together for decades on a successful supply chain relationship and with closely aligned ethos, the acquisition of Rowcliffe was considered by both parties to be a complementary partnership.

Tim Rowcliffe mandated Peter Counsell of Meta Corporate Finance to advise him and his wife, Helen, on the sale.

Tim said “I am extremely proud of the business, and the heritage we have built since 1967. We have worked with Ambrosi for many years now in a supplier and importer relationship. For them to acquire Rowcliffe felt like a natural development. Whilst logically the sale to Ambrosi was a comfortable decision, there are a host of issues and technicalities that emerge through a company sale with which one needs experienced advice. Peter Counsell was invaluable in guiding Helen and I through both the expected complexities and the unexpected emotional rollercoaster of the transaction.  The industry means so much to me personally and it has been a life-long campaign to ensure beautiful products receive the right treatment and are sold at specialist expert stores. I will still be part of the industry and will continue to support the company for the near future and I see exciting times ahead.”