The old tongue twister goes: “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”
According to the directors of drinks firm C&C, it was worth chucking quite a lot when it bought the US-based maker of Woodchuck cider, the Vermont Hard Cider Co, last week for £190 million.
Vermont Hard Cider president and chief executive Bret Williams noted to a local newspaper that he had mortgaged his home, liquidated his pension, and “pulled the change out of the ashtray” to buy the company with a small group of investors, mostly college buddies, for $2.3m in 2003 from Scottish & Newcastle’s HP Bulmer operation.
Now, most people know that a woodchuck is a sort of groundhog.
And people could be forgiven for confusing C&C, which makes Bulmers Cider brand in Ireland, with the company that used to own Vermont Hard Cider – one HP Bulmer, maker of Strongbow.
Williams credited S&N’s ownership with nearly bankrupting Vermont Hard Cider.
And while it all may come across as a bit like groundhog day for Woodchuck, Williams and his new backers in Ireland – mostly former S&N executives anyhow – reckon that the US market is ripe now that it is the largest cider producer there.
Vellacott shifting focus
Oliver Vellacott, the technology entrepreneur who last year failed to buy out the company he founded, has spoken for the first time since selling his entire 2 per cent holding in the company last week for £8m.
His attempt to seize control of IndigoVision prompted a fierce boardroom battle with chairman Hamish Grossart, who welcomed the new institutional investors who bought Vellacott’s shares.
In a statement issued to us over the weekend, Vellacott said: “For 18 years IndigoVision played a central part in my life. It was immensely satisfying to see a talented team come together and create a Scottish technology company that became highly respected within the international security market.
“I am very proud of the many individuals throughout the company whose creativity and hard work made this possible. It is my sincere hope that the company will go from strength to strength, and continue to be an independent Scottish success story.”
Unfortunately, he’s not saying what he intends to do with his cash pile, although the betting is on him starting up a new venture or perhaps dabbling as a business angel. No doubt he will pop up on one or two boards in due course.
Rox’s big night got our ear
With chart-topper Labrinth, weather girl Cat Cubie, a fleet of Ferraris and an evening of cocktails, it was always going to be one of the hottest tickets in town.
The VIP opening of jewellery chain Rox’s Edinburgh emporium last week was, by any measure, a resounding success.
Hundreds packed into the £1 million shrine to all things sparkling, making for some lengthy queues at the Thrill Room’s champagne bar.
However, for one member of the business desk it was all too much as the Assembly Rooms shook to Labrinth’s finest tunes.
Perhaps, for its next opening, Rox might consider some old crooner.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
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Wind direction: West