Press Release: Swisher International Announces Purchase Agreement to Acquire Drew Estate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2014) — Swisher International Inc. and Drew Estate Tobacco Company disclosed today that they have entered into a definitive purchase agreement whereby Swisher International will acquire Drew Estate in its entirety. Drew Estate will continue to operate under its current management team as a subsidiary of Swisher.

“We began under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass in Brooklyn, N.Y. with a laser focus on ‘The Rebirth of Cigars.’ Friends, retailers, and consumers connected with our passion and authenticity, supporting us at each stage of our growth. We are eternally grateful to all of those who have helped build Drew Estate, and look forward to advancing the Drew Estate legacy with a great partner,” stated Jonathan Drew, Co-founder of Drew Estate, from Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

Drew Estate Co-founder Marvin Samel added, “This is a dream come true. From the moment we met the team at Swisher and began speaking of a possible acquisition, it was clear that, as a family business, they understood the culture we have created and completely supported our desire to keep our family at Drew Estate intact. The team we have built in Miami and Nicaragua represents the heart and soul of ‘The Rebirth of Cigars’ and will continue to drive that vision into the future. In fact, we’re just getting started.”

Michael Cellucci, President of Drew Estate, said, “We are excited to join the distinguished team at Swisher. After spending the past few months interacting with the Swisher team, we have come to understand their commitment to the cigar and OTP categories, as well as the premium cigar segment. After the transaction closes, we will continue to run our business as we have in the past, and will be able to leverage the resources of Swisher to continue our growth with a renewed focus on our commitment to quality products and people – two of the core principles of the Drew Estate belief system.”

“As a global leader in the cigar and OTP categories, Swisher prides itself on developing, manufacturing, and distributing the most innovative and high quality tobacco products available. I see those same principles in Drew Estate,” said Peter Ghiloni, President and CEO of Swisher International. “The products produced by Drew Estate and its distribution partners Joya De Nicaragua, Royal Agio Cigars, and Tsuge pipes are top-quality market leaders in their respective segments. The creativity, passion and innovation of Drew Estate employees and management are a perfect match for Swisher, and we look forward to welcoming them to our family.”

The transaction is scheduled to close during the 4th quarter of 2014. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

About Drew Estate Inc.

Founded in New York City in 1996, Drew Estate has become one of the fastest growing tobacco companies in the world. Under its mantra “The Rebirth of Cigars”™, Drew Estate has led the “boutique cigar” movement by innovating new elements to the tobacco industry with unique tobaccos and blending styles that have attracted new and old cigar enthusiasts. In its Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, the Nicaraguan headquarters, Drew Estate produces a variety of brands such as ACID, Herrera Estelí, Kentucky Fired Cured, Liga Privada, MUWAT, Natural, Nica Rustica, Nirvana Cameroon Selection, Tabak Especial, UnderCrown, and Java by Drew Estate. Website: http://www.drewestate.com

About Swisher International

Swisher International, Inc. is a leading tobacco manufacturer whose cigars, filtered cigars and smokeless tobacco brands include the largest-selling cigar brand in the world—Swisher Sweets, as well as King Edward, Optimo, BlackStone, Pom-Pom, and Santa Fe cigars; Mail Pouch, Chattanooga Chew, Starr, Bowie and Lancaster chewing tobaccos, Silver Creek, Kayak and Redwood moist snuff, and Navy and Railroad Mills dry snuff; as well as Kismet, Casino Gold HRS, and Nirvana Cameroon Selection Premium Cigars thru its Royal Gold Premium Cigars division. Swisher products are exported to over 80 countries. Swisher International, Inc. is headquartered in Jacksonville, FL and also has manufacturing facilities in Wheeling, WV and Santiago, Dom. Rep. Website: http://www.swisher.com

Views: 284


Mod
Comment by Matt Ross on October 20, 2014 at 2:15pm

Two thoughts and a question...

1) I hope everyone that bashed those initially 'breaking' this story - including the 'communities' who removed or closed discussion of the topic - issue retractions and apologies.  I doubt that happens, though.

2) I'm not surprised by all of the negative reaction I'm seeing, but I think its a bit premature. If DE is allowed to continue to operate as DE - and the Press Release and everything I've heard through the grapevine leads me to believe it will - then things will be fine (at least in the short-term).

3) I do wonder the terms.  Most specifically, how long are JD and Marvin required to stay on-board?

Comment by Charlie on October 20, 2014 at 2:45pm

I'm kinda bummed out, I am curious to see how things turn out, I hope the quality stays the same.

Comment by The Cigarmy (Kip) on October 20, 2014 at 3:02pm

I mainly wondered what this will do to DE's support of CRA.  Swisher is on record as opposed to CRA and its supported legislation.  That's my main question.  I never smoked many of their cigars anyway.

Comment by Charlie on October 20, 2014 at 3:06pm

They wont be opposed to it anymore, now being a HUGE part of the premium business.


Retailer
Comment by 302JH (Jose) on October 20, 2014 at 4:53pm

Here are my thoughts on the subject matter:

If I was a business owner, and started a company from the ground up and watch it grow into a jugganut in a particular industry, I can understand selling it off for high capital. We all want to live well off and comfortably. So I totally understand that from a business perspective.

Here is my gripe with the entire situation. We watched cigar chat and watched JD say that why would they make a move away from DE when they are so passionate about tobacco and what they have built and the industry as a whole?


I just recently had a conversation with a certain brand owner during an event not long ago who will remain nameless. He stated that there are indivduals who in the future may sell there companies and essentially be figure heads or will remain the face of their brands but who will have no control of the companies that they sold off and that no one (meaning the consumers) will not know any better.
Does this type of scenerio play to the acquisition of Drew Estate by Swisher? Who knows...I'm sure like many people that they hope that this is not the case. But lets be realistic here. Some of us will rightfully feel decieved here and that's valid in my book.

Correct me if I am wrong, but there is NO company in this world that has been swallowed by a bigger company that has been able to keep its own identity and culture. It eventually becomes we are the owners now and this is how its going to be.

Not to sound like im talking negative, but I don't see how this is good for the cigar industry as a whole. Small brands will feel the crush and let themselves be bought out by big box cigar brands and everything we love about cigars will become "generic" and not worthy of the money we spent to enjoy them.

I think my days of buying DE products will come to an end real soon.

But I remain hopeful that this will be that one case where it is what the "pre-release" says it is.  I really don't want to be saying two-three years from now, "Remember when DE cigars used to be so good? Now they taste like CAO's?"

Comment by Charlie on October 20, 2014 at 5:12pm

Jose, you should go read what Halfwheel has posted (comments from JD/Samuel) I think it will clear up a lot of your questions stated above. From what I understand, in the deal the two companies had, everyone running the company keeps doing what they were doing (tobacco wise) but someone else (Swisher) will be running the financial side ($) lol. Anyways I was thinking the same thing until I read the Halfwheel post.


Retailer
Comment by 302JH (Jose) on October 20, 2014 at 5:21pm

Charlie, you can't believe everything you read....we will continue this conversation in a few years.


Retailer
Comment by 302JH (Jose) on October 20, 2014 at 5:21pm

Remember what I said about Figure heads/ Face of the brand


Retailer
Comment by 302JH (Jose) on October 20, 2014 at 5:36pm

So I read the article, I will admit I have HOPE.

But I still think this is bad for the industry.  I'm no economist but when you have a open check book you will buy something that used to cost $2 for $20 and not blink a eye.  I use this analogy for the comparison of purchasing bales of tobacco.  It will create a shift in the market in the price in tobacco.  Boutique brands who will try to survive will be forced to buy tobacco at a higher price per pound, passing the cost to the consumer.  Then we wont have to worry about the FDA slapping a $10 price tag on premium cigars because the market will automatically shift that way because of the nature of supply and demand.

Comment by Charlie on October 20, 2014 at 5:40pm

I don't believe hardly anything I read. These are just comments and statements not facts, I was referring you to Halfwheel because they have a more in depth story on this subject, may clear up what you were wondering. 

Remember not everybody/company is just like the last, everyone has different values and beliefs, and yes in a few years we will continue this and see if they hold true to what DE is all about 

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