Drinks firms Campari Group and Moet Hennessy have joined forces to build a premium European e-commerce business for wines and spirits.

The joint venture will revolve around Tannico, Campari’s online retailer for wines and premium spirits. The two companies plan to transform the platform into a major e-commerce player across the European market.

As part of the deal, Campari has agreed to sell 50% of the joint venture’s equity capital to Moet Hennessy for E25.6 million.

Tannico currently holds around 30% of the European e-commerce wines and premium spirits market, according to the two companies. It is also the major shareholder in Ventealapropriete, which is a significant e-commerce business in France. The two businesses generated combined sales of more than E70 million last year.

Tannico’s chief executive, Marco Magnocavallo, will lead the new venture. He said: “With the joint backing of Moët Hennessy and Campari, Tannico will have the firepower to consolidate the fragmented European e-commerce sector and offer a qualitative, sizeable and integrated route to market option catering to the needs of all its wines and spirits suppliers.”

The new partnership allows Campari and Moet Hennessy to take advantage of the significant expansion of the e-commerce market brought about the by Covid-19 pandemic.

Bob Kunze-Concewitz, chief executive of Campari Group, said: “We are very pleased to partner with Moët Hennessy to become a premium pan-European wines and spirits e-commerce player through Tannico.

“After the completion of Tannico’s first transformational step with the acquisition of Ventealapropriete.com, thanks to this agreement, the new partnership aims to continue to grow, further strengthening its footprint and expertise in the online retailing of spirits and wines.”

Kunze-Concewitz said growth in e-commerce over the past year had contributed to the 17.9% increase in net sales for the first quarter of 2021, as well as the increased popularity of its Aperol brand.

Philippe Schaus, president and chief executive of Moet Hennessy said: “This partnership represents a significant step forward in our global e-commerce development strategy.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Campari Group and Tannico to create a premium pan-European wines and spirits e-commerce player.”