Electronic Cigarettes International Group in Grand Rapids, or ECIG, is an over-the-counter stock with a market capitalization of $160.04 million as of Nov. 14, 2014. Photo via fb.com
An e-cigarette maker is expanding its penetration into the European market with its fourth acquisition this year.
Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corporation in Nunica, near Grand Haven, said Tuesday that it has completed the acquisition of VIP, one of the U.K.’s “most profitable” e-cigarette companies, for a combination of cash and stock in excess of $50 million.
Victory Electronic Cigarettes said VIP, based in Manchester, England, has developed a multi-channel distribution model with owned retail stores, retail mobile kiosk units, online and traditional retail.
Launched in 2009 by co-founders Miguel Corral and David Levin, VIP has grown across Europe and the U.K., with a number one market position in Ireland, according to Victory Electronic Cigarettes.
“Everyone at VIP is extremely excited about joining Victory,” Corral said. “We knew that to effectively compete in the next phase of this industry that we would need to partner with someone that shared our same vision and would facilitate us to achieve our long-term objectives. We chose Victory, because they have the people, the resources and infrastructure that, when combined with our team, will enable us to accomplish our vision — now just on a global basis and now much faster.”
VIP has a broad product portfolio: traditional rechargeables and disposables, "mods," open- and closed-vaping systems, tanks and liquids.
Victory Electronic Cigarettes said VIP recently began expansion to major retailers in the U.K. and has “gained acceptance” from supermarket chains.
“VIP is a high-potential franchise with an outstanding leadership team that will each be taking on broader global roles in the combined enterprise,” said Brent Willis, chairman and CEO, Victory Electronic Cigarettes, and former senior executive at AB InBev and Coca-Cola. “Of all the electronic cigarette companies, VIP was the most profitable company as a percentage of sales of any e-cigarette firm we have seen worldwide.”
Willis said the company’s portfolio, premium brand and distribution approaches have global potential.
“We intend to heavily invest in expanding their distribution model and product portfolio,” he added.
Victory Electronic Cigarettes owns the trademarks for Vapestick, FIN, Victory, GreenStix, VIP and others.
The company, which said it’s the largest “independent” e-cigarette company, also owns multiple subsidiary companies and maintains operations across the globe.
Victory has completed four major transactions or partnerships in the past four months: Field’s Texas Group and FIN Branding Group in the U.S. and Vapestick and VIP in Europe.
The company expects to continue its external growth activities, as it expands into global markets.