How Canada’s controversial beer retailer could be about to buy the LCBO

Written by By Alexa L David, CNN Written by

Leading Canadian beer retailer Beer Store has reportedly made a formal bid to buy the LCBO, the publicly-owned sales outlet for beer and wine in Ontario

The offer came as a surprise to provincial government officials, who responded positively to a briefing from four senior company executives last Friday. According to a Business News Network report, the Beer Store offered $50 million in cash and shares of the company, as well as an unspecified percentage of its debt financing.

That equates to roughly $2.4 billion.

Beer Store declined to comment on the report. In response to the speculation, Ontario’s Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli said in a statement that the province is “open to all options” that would improve beer affordability.

“A free and competitive beer market will ensure the Ontario consumers are able to buy the best beer at the lowest price,” he said.

Currently, owners of 16.5 million square feet of private retail space, including bars, restaurants and delis, are allowed to legally stock only products produced and sold by The Beer Store. The provincial liquor store (liquor store) monopoly, which operates 7,400 stores across the province, is managed by the Ontario Liquor Control Board and handled by The Beer Store.

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