Middleby seals purchase of beverage equipment maker

The ever-acquisitive Middleby Group has bought a beverage dispensing equipment business to tap into demand that it is seeing from customers looking to expand their drinks revenues.

The US firm tied up a deal to acquire Automatic Bar Controls, which trades as Wunder-Bar, just before Christmas, strengthening its presence in the beverage equipment sector.

Wunder-Bar manufactures beverage dispensers for the foodservice industry and boasts annual sales of $30m (£18m). Its products are used by leading restaurant chains, convenience stores and caterers for the dispensing of carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, ice tea and other beverages.

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“The beverage business is a highly profitable and fast-growing category for our customers,” said Selim Bassoul, chairman and CEO of the Middleby Corporation. “We continue to see our customers investing in equipment solutions to expand their beverage offerings. With this acquisition, Middleby expands its presence in beverage equipment with an industry-leading brand and recognised leader in innovation.”

California-based Wunder-Bar does have international representation, but it is understood that the vast majority of its business comes from the US.

It is not yet clear if the takeover by Middleby will lead to a new push into the UK market, but Bassoul did confirm that it would be looking to market the brand overseas.

“We are excited about the addition of the Wunder-Bar brand to our portfolio of innovative foodservice equipment and believe there are significant opportunities to grow this business by leveraging existing Middleby customer relationships and our strong international presence,” he said.

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