Unilever to Sell Its Tea Business, ekaterra, to CVC Capital Partners

Just before Thanksgiving week, Unilever announced that it entered into an agreement to sell its global tea business, ekaterra, to CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII for €4.5 billion (around U.S. $5 billion) on a cash-free, debt-free basis.

ekaterra is the world’s leading tea business, with a portfolio of 34 brands that include Lipton, PG tips, Pukka, T2 and TAZO. The business generated revenues of around €2 billion in 2020.

“The evolution of our portfolio into higher growth spaces is an important part of our growth strategy for Unilever,” said Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever. “Our decision to sell ekaterra demonstrates further progress in delivering against our plans.”

Jope added: “We are proud of the place that our tea business has in our company’s history. We look forward to seeing ekaterra, with its strong brands and global footprint, prosper under CVC’s ownership. I would like to thank our tea colleagues around the world for their passion and commitment to our tea business and wish them well for the future.”

Pev Hooper, a managing partner at CVC Capital Partners, said, “ekaterra is a great business, built on strong foundations of leading brands and a purpose-driven approach to its products, people and communities. ekaterra is well positioned in an attractive market to accelerate its future growth, and to lead the category’s sustainable development. We look forward to working with the team to realise ekaterra’s full potential.”

‘A Strong Business with Positive Momentum’

John Davison, CEO of ekaterra, said, “ekaterra is a strong business with positive momentum and has an exciting future ahead under the new ownership of CVC. We look forward to the next stage of our journey as the world’s leading tea business.”

Completion of the transaction is subject to completion of works council consultation processes and the receipt of certain regulatory approvals. Completion is expected in the second half of 2022.

The transaction perimeter excludes Unilever’s Tea business in India, Nepal and Indonesia, as well as Unilever’s interests in the Pepsi Lipton ready-to-drink Tea joint ventures and associated distribution businesses.

ekaterra has 11 production factories in four continents and tea estates in three countries, and is focused on growing a world of wellbeing through the regenerative power of plants.

To learn more about ekaterra, visit ekaterratea.com.

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