International Coffee & Tea, which owns and operates The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf—one of the oldest and largest privately‐held specialty premium coffee and tea retailers in the United States—announces that Advent International, CDIB Capital, and Mirae Asset Private Equity have joined to acquire a significant equity position in the company.
One of the largest and most experienced global investors dedicated solely to private equity, Advent has established an integrated team of over 170 investment professionals across North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. CDIB Capital is the overseas investment arm of China Development Financial, one of the largest and longest standing merchant banking groups in Asia. Headquartered in Hong Kong, CDIB Capital also has principal offices in Taipei, Shanghai, Seoul, and San Francisco. Mirae Asset Private Equity is the private equity arm of Mirae Asset Financial Group, one of Asia’s largest independent financial services groups, with offices throughout Asia, Australia, India, Europe, and North America. The Sassoon family, led by brothers Sunny and Victor Sassoon, previously the largest existing shareholder of The Coffee Bean, remains as a significant shareholder. The transaction was completed as of September 12, 2013, and financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Since its first location in Brentwood, California, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has grown to become an international icon with more than 900 company-owned and franchised stores across 15 states and spanning nearly 30 countries. Founded in 1963, the company remains rooted to its heritage by focusing on the quality of its craft and delivering the world’s most vibrant flavors to its customers by selecting only the top one percent of Arabica beans and hand-plucked whole leaf teas. After 50 years, the company remains committed to its original vision of product quality and customer care, developing a strong recognizable brand that has resonated with customers both in U.S. and internationally.
“This is an important and exciting development for our customers and team members and marks a new age of significance and expansion for The Coffee Bean,” says Mel Elias, president and chief executive officer of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. “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. It is also a testament to our people, products, and strength of our brand, both domestically and internationally, in the coffee, and especially, tea category.”
Sunny Sassoon, executive chairman of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Victor Sassoon, The Coffee Bean CEO Asia Pacific, add in a joint statement, “Since 1996, we have worked very hard to build The Coffee Bean into the global and innovative company it has become today that touches the lives of millions of guests every week. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and we feel very blessed and excited to join our new partners in continuing to realize the company’s significant potential as we look forward to the next 50 years of growth on all levels.”
“The Coffee Bean is the largest independent global player in a dynamic industry,” says Jeff Case, a principal at Advent International. “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. We believe this investment will serve to accelerate the brand’s development and market share and we look forward to working with the management team to accomplish that growth.”
Will Kussell, a member of Advent’s Operating Partner program, will serve as vice chairman of The Coffee Bean board of directors. Prior to joining Advent’s Operating Partner program in 2010, Kussell served as president and chief brand officer of Dunkin’ Donuts Worldwide. There, he led the successful repositioning of the company as a coffee and bakery segment leader, increasing U.S. sales from just over $1 billion in 1994 to more than $5 billion in 2009. He also established an international growth strategy for Dunkin’ Donuts that led to a 60 percent sales increase from 2004 to 2009.
HY Kim, a managing director at CDIB Capital, says. “We have followed The Coffee Bean for many years, in particular its rapid expansion in Asia, and have been impressed by the strength of the brand and its connection with its consumer base. We believe that the Company’s authentic Southern California brand heritage and global resonance provides a strong base for the future.”
Jung-Hun Ryu, president at Mirae Asset Private Equity, adds, “We are excited to partner with Advent, CDIB Capital, and the Sassoon family to continue the rapid growth of this business. We see many significant opportunities for The Coffee Bean in Asia and the U.S., and are excited to work to support this future growth.”
Sunny Sassoon continues as executive chairman of the board and Victor Sassoon remains as CEO of the Asia Pacific.