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Lavazza agrees to acquire Mars Drinks business including Flavia and Klix systems

Lavazza Group
Antonio Baravalle, Chief Executive Officer of Lavazza Group

TURIN, Italy / MCLEAN, VA, U.S. – The Lavazza Group has agreed to acquire Mars’ Drinks business, including the Flavia and Klix systems, leading brands in the Office Coffee Service (OCS) and Vending segments.

According to the Coffee barometer 2018, Lavazza is the sixth competitor in terms of volumes on the global market, with a 2.1% share.

The groups did not disclose the financial details, but a source close to the matter said the deal points to an enterprise value for Mars Drinks of around $650 million.

The purchase comes as consumer-products companies, suffering as customers turn away from mass-market processed foods and drinks, increasingly see coffee as a key source of growth.

A race for scale in the business has led to Coca-Cola Co. buying U.K. chain Costa from Whitbread Plc and Nestle SA striking a deal to market Starbucks Corp. products from beans to capsules, after JAB Holding Co. snapped up Keurig Green Mountain, Peet’s, Stumptown and other brands.

Antonio Baravalle, CEO of the Lavazza Group stated:

“This acquisition fits perfectly within our international expansion strategy, the objective of strengthening key markets, as well as the pursuit of having an even closer relationship with end consumers. Indeed, this acquisition strengthens the Lavazza Group’s position in the OCS and Vending segments, which offer considerable opportunities for growth and development.”

“Today’s transaction with Mars, Incorporated is consistent with a common vision and shared values between two prominent family-owned companies who have a strong focus on delivering quality products with uncompromising commitment to our employees and associates, with a long-term vision.”

Speaking on the agreement, Grant F. Reid CEO/Office of the President, Mars, Incorporated said:

“Mars Drinks has been an important part of our business for many years, and while it’s always hard to say goodbye to great brands, valued Associates and friends, we believe now is the right time for a change. We are confident this decision will better enable long-term success for the Drinks business with Lavazza – a company that shares our values and has a dedicated focus on beverages – and will allow the business and its Associates to continue to thrive.”

Nuvola Lavazza, the company’s new headquarters in Turin

The deal

Through this deal, the Lavazza Group, in accordance with its strategy of consolidation at the international level, will acquire Mars’ coffee businesses in North America, Germany, the UK, France, Canada and Japan, including its related systems and its production facilities in the UK and United States.

The acquisition includes the Flavia tabletop machines business and the Klix freestanding Vending machine business, which boast a large machine park installed throughout their markets of operation, and a broad portfolio of coffee and other hot beverages commercialized under both proprietary brands (e.g. Alterra) as well as through licensed brands. The businesses involved in the acquisition generated a turnover of approximately US$350 million in 2017, and has a workforce of approximately 900 people.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals and procedures being completed.

In line with its previous acquisitions — Carte Noire and ESP in France, Merrild in Denmark, Kicking Horse Coffee in Canada, NIMS in Italy and Blue Pod Coffee in Australia — Lavazza intends to continue to enhance the acquired businesses, thereby strengthening its direct coverage of all segments of the coffee markets concerned, with a particular emphasis on Away-from-Home, according to an approach based on increasingly direct interaction with consumers.

Lavazza was advised by J.P. Morgan, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, PwC and The Boston Consulting Group. Mars, Incorporated was advised by BofA Merrill Lynch, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, KPMG LLP and Rabo Securities USA.