Unilever’s $384 Million Acquisition of the TAZO Brand from Starbucks


Cravath is representing Unilever in connection with the transaction.

Unilever today announced an agreement to acquire the TAZO® brand from Starbucks. TAZO® is a leading brand in the fast-growing specialty tea category.

Under the asset purchase agreement, Unilever will acquire the TAZO® brand and all related intellectual property, signature recipes and inventory for US$384 million. The transaction represents a multiple of 10 times pro forma EBIT. TAZO® had sales of US$112.5 million over the past year*.

Founded in 1994, TAZO® has a strong position in Specialty Black, Green and Herbal teas, as well as liquid concentrates focused in the Chai Latte segment. The fast-growing specialty tea segment makes up 48% of the total US$1.6 billion (FY 2016) at-home tea category and trends suggest it will become more prominent in the future**. TAZO® is sold primarily in grocery, mass and convenience channels in the US and Canada, and is offered in formats including packaged teas, K-Cup® pods and bottled ready-to-drink teas.

The Cravath team is led by partners Aaron M. Gruber (Picture) and Mark I. Greene and includes associates G.J. Ligelis Jr., Alex L. Winkelman and Edward O. Minturn on M&A matters; partner Andrew W. Needham and associates Kiran Sheffrin and Andrew T. Davis on tax matters; partner David J. Kappos and associate Nicholas Kypriotakis on intellectual property matters; partner Christine A. Varney and senior attorney Jesse M. Weiss on antitrust matters; and partner Matthew Morreale on environmental matters.

Involved fees earner: Aaron Gruber – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Mark Greene – Cravath Swaine & Moore; G.J. Ligelis Jr. – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Alex Winkelman – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Edward Minturn – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Andrew Needham – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Kiran Sheffrin – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Andrew Davis – Cravath Swaine & Moore; David Kappos – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Christine Varney – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Jesse Weiss – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Matthew Morreale – Cravath Swaine & Moore;

Law Firms: Cravath Swaine & Moore;

Clients: Unilever;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti