Italian coffee machine manufacturer Gruppo Cimbali has acquired a controlling stake in American company Slayer Espresso. The announcement, finalised on 16 November and publicly disclosed on 2 December, refers to the acquisition as a “partnership”, enabling both companies to work together to achieve global expansion. “The partnership creates a perfect blend of the established and lean manufacturing of Gruppo Cimbali with the subversive and innovative methodology of Slayer,” a press statement said. Slayer will maintain full autonomy in terms of operations and methodologies, with Founder Jason Prefontaine continuing as President and CEO. “I’d like to assure each of you, this partnership is not a take over and our management structure will remain the same under my leadership and guidance,” Prefontaine wrote in a statement on the Slayer website. “Ownership of our product line remains unchanged and Slayer will continue to innovate and design high end, craft coffee machines managing sales and distribution channels independently as they currently exist, in Seattle.” Prefontaine told his audience that while the “partnership” for some, “may come as a shock”, he encouraged people to appreciate his decision. Prefontaine said he had recently pulled out his original Slayer business plan, which included that there would come a point in time in which Slayer would need “additional guidance and funding” to reach its full potential. In the plan he also noted there would come a time where he would develop a technology that focused on enhancing the steam wand assembly and steam itself. “As crazy as it sounds,” Prefontaine wrote, “Slayer is becoming exactly what I originally imagined.” Since its creation in 2007, Slayer has upheld its values and mission to “make coffee better” through innovation and design of its flagship Slayer Espresso machine, which focused on aiding the extraction process and retaining flavour profiles. It resulted in the development of a needle valve. Then came the Slayer Single Group catered to restaurants, roaster labs and coffee enthusiasts to take espresso to the next level. Just last year, Slayer Steam was released to challenge steaming technology. It was Slayers' manufacturing innovations and hand-crafted designs made the company an alluring partner to Gruppo Cimbali. The “partnership” will enable Slayer to increase its presence in the international market by utilising Gruppo Cimbali’s capabilities to streamline the manufacturing process, broaden engineering expertise, and expand its global business operations and brand footprint to help it achieve all its goals. In return, Gruppo Cimbali will further expand its portfolio in the high-end espresso segment and cement its position as a key player in the US market through a presence in Seattle, one of the world’s coffee epicentres. “The partnership with Gruppo Cimbali is a significant business move for us and has been well thought out over the past year, representing the perfect blend of the classic established know-how of Gruppo Cimbali with the subversive and innovative methodology of Slayer,” Jason wrote on his website. “We are becoming the company I dreamt of creating. I’ve never been more excited about the future and possibilities of Slayer.” The Gruppo Cimbali umbrella includes brands La Cimbali, Faema, Casadio, and Hemerson. Image: Maurizio Cimbali and Franco Panno with Jason Prefontaine.