illycaffè sells minority stake to Rhône Capital to accelerate international development


Italian coffee roaster illycaffè has announced the sale of a minority stake of the company to affiliates of global private equity firm Rhône Capital.

“We chose Rhône as a travel companion for this next phase of growth because of their deep, global experience in strategically partnering with family-owned companies and based on their ability to understand illy’s unique, premium positioning rooted in its superior quality, longstanding heritage, and authentic, sustainable business model,” says Andrea Illy, Chairman of illycaffè.

“By partnering with illycaffè, Rhône has demonstrated that it shares our inclusive approach to value creation, which considers all our stakeholders and is deployed in combination with the pursuit of the highest ethical standards in running our business. I strongly believe that Rhône will be an ideal partner as we continue to realize our dream of offering the greatest coffee to the world, which is our foundation and uncompromised vision for the future.”

Illycaffè says it chose Rhône as its partner to lead its next phase of international growth after a long and rigorous selection process which took more than a year. Founded in 1933 by Francesco Illy, the company has built a global premium coffee brand present in more than 140 countries, with strong ethical values focused on sustainable business practices and close relationships with coffee growers.

“Rhône has a formidable track record in helping its portfolio companies grow internationally, particularly in the US, a key market in our growth plans,” says Massimiliano Pogliani, CEO of illycaffè.

“In addition to Rhône’s partnership approach to investing, I truly welcome their contribution to illycaffè’s Board thanks to Rhône’s proven expertise in supporting the implementation of the strategic plans and particularly the initiatives related to digital transformation, a key strategic lever within illy’s plans and a capability that is becoming increasingly relevant in the current business environment.”

Rhône was chosen for its ability to contribute to illy’s international footprint expansion, particularly in the United States, and will serve as a resource to further strengthen the company’s platform in executing its growth plans.

“We are honoured to have been chosen by Andrea Illy and the rest of his family as their partner to support them in their long-term international strategic objectives,” says Robert Agostinelli, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Rhône.

“Illycaffè is a standard bearer of how multi-generational family ownership can shepherd and enhance a sterling brand identity across the globe. We were drawn to the quality of illy’s underlying business, their approach to value creation, and their impeccable ethical standards, which are reflected in both their corporate governance and commitment to sustainability.”

Rhône has a focus on investments in businesses with pan-European, North American, or transatlantic presence.

“We believe that our respect for Andrea Illy and his family’s brand, and the business they have built over the years, along with our tradition of being trusted stewards of family-owned, international businesses, make us an ideal partner in supporting illy in its next, important phase of growth,” says Gianpiero Lenza, Managing Director at Rhône said.

“We have been impressed by the quality and leadership of Massimiliano Pogliani and his management team, who have positioned illy to expand and strengthen its premium brand in multiple channels. We look forward to partnering with them, the Illy family and the Board to support them in this journey.”

Completion of the transaction is expected to take place by the end of the first quarter of 2021 subject to customary regulatory approvals.

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