The two businesses provide keg services through the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Following the merger, the combined entity will be owned 15% by Brambles and 85% by MicroStar’s current shareholders.
Brambles bought an initial 30% in Kegstar in March 2014 and lifted its stake to 100% in 2015 after buying out the holdings of founder and managing director Adam Trippe-Smith and co-shareholder Shane Bradley.
The merger is subject to foreign investment approval in Australia and New Zealand and is expected to complete during the first half of this calendar year.
Brambles said the MicroStar and Kegstar merger will leverage the best of both parties’ expertise and employees, to create greater customer experiences with accelerated global growth, through quality local execution.
MicroStar added that the acquisition of Kegstar would expand its network to nearly 6 million high-quality kegs, allowing brewers, importers and distributors to benefit from the most dense and efficient independent keg operation in the world.
The merged business will be led by Michael Hranicka, MicroStar’s CEO & President, with Christian Barden remaining as the Global Managing Director of Kegstar, through the Kegstar and KegLease brands and solutions.
“We have watched Kegstar closely and admired the way Kegstar have helped their customers grow by simplifying brewers’ keg supply chains,” said Hranicka. “Our cultures, geographies and capabilities are highly complementary allowing us to add strength to strength and open up significant growth opportunities in existing and future markets.”
Barden, who started Kegstar in the UK in 2016, added: “This is terrific news for our people, customers, partners and ambitions. It’s testament to the eight-fold growth the team have delivered across ten countries in the last four years, and we’ve only just got started. Becoming part of the MicroStar family with our shared people, quality, innovation and sustainability values, is awesome. This merger keeps the best bits of our journey so far and will bring new levels of energy, global know-how and singular focus on keg management.
“In this next phase of our growth, we get fresh support, different perspectives and new investment, with Brambles remaining a 15% shareholder. Now, we have even more of the right resources to take the Kegstar and MicroStar brands to the next level for our customers and the drinks industry. Bring on the next 10 years of getting more great beers to more happy drinkers around the world.”
Kegstar announced last month that Coca-Cola Amatil’s Stephen Hopkins had been appointed as its new General Manager for Australia and New Zealand.