Foodservice Equipment Reports

Equity Firms Buy Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

A group of private-equity investors, including firms from Taiwan and South Korea, has acquired Los Angeles-based The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Terms were not disclosed for the transaction, which was completed Sept. 12.

The capital investment comes from global buyout firm Advent International, represented by Will Kussell,
previously president of Dunkin’ Donuts Worldwide. He’ll serves as vice chairman of The Coffee Bean’s board of directors. Advent was joined by CDIB Capital and Mirae Asset Private Equity.

The 50-year-old chain opened its first Asian location in Singapore in 1996 and has grown rapidly overseas as it emphasizes tea in a region where single-cup coffee has yet to get a firm foothold.
The Coffee Bean has 313 units in the U.S., of which 178 are company owned, and 629 in 30 other countries, most of which are franchised
. Nearly 600 of those outlets are in Asia, including about 250 units in Korea.

The deal is the latest in a string of transactions in the coffee sector. Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee Co. was taken private last December by German investment group Joh. A. Benckiser.

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