3 firms take large stake in Coffee Bean

PHOTO: 3 firms take large stake in Coffee Bean

A trio of private equity firms have agreed to take a large stake in coffee and tea retailer, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

The size of their investment was not revealed.

The firms are:

- United States-based private equity firm Advent International;

- CDIB Capital, the overseas investment arm of the merchant banking group China Development Financial; and

- Mirae Asset Private Equity, the private equity arm of Mirae Asset Financial Group.

Singapore's prominent Sassoon family, previously the largest existing shareholder, retains a "significant" stake, the company said in a statement.

"The coffee and tea market is poised for continued growth, driven by rising coffee consumption globally and an expanding middle class in Asia and other growing economies throughout the world," said Mr Jeff Case, a principal at Advent International.

Businessman Victor Sassoon, the company's Asia-Pacific chief executive, bought the Asia franchise rights for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf - which was founded in California - in 1996.

Mr Sassoon, a regular on the Forbes' rich list in Singapore, opened the chain's first outlet here that year. The Sassoon family eventually bought out the original owners and took over the entire business in 1998.

Mr Sassoon's younger brother Sunny is executive chairman and his brother-in-law Mel Elias is the president and chief executive of the company.

The company has more than 900 company-owned and franchised stores across 15 states in the United States and in 30 countries worldwide.

"Since 1996, we have worked very hard to build The Coffee Bean into the global and innovative company it has become today," said the Sassoon brothers in a joint statement.

Mr Elias added: "The coffee sector continues to be very dynamic, led by strong international growth and significant strategic interest, which in turn provides added promise and opportunity."


Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.