Mondelez, DE mull brand sales as part of coffee merger

Monday 21 July 2014 08.01
The merger of DE Master Blenders 1753 and Mondelez's coffee brands will create the second biggest coffee company in the world
The merger of DE Master Blenders 1753 and Mondelez's coffee brands will create the second biggest coffee company in the world

Mondelez and DE Master Blenders 1753 are considering options including a possible sale of brands L'Or and Grand Mere as they prepare to merge their coffee businesses, sources familiar with the matter said.

The companies said in May they would form a joint venture, controlled by DE Master Blenders' private parent JAB Holding, which would be the world's number two player behind Nestlé.

The companies have hired Lazard to advise on strategic options for the two French brands, according to three sources familiar with the matter. 

The options could include, but are not limited to, a sale, they said.

It was not immediately clear how big the brands are or why they may be sold. 

L'Or, which makes capsules compatible with Nestle's Nespresso system, is currently owned by DE Master Blenders. Grand Mere, first introduced in 1950, is owned by Mondelez. 

JAB, the investment arm of Germany's billionaire Reimann family, and Mondelez declined to comment. Lazard could not immediately be reached. The sources declined to be identified as the matter is private.

The combined company, to be called Jacobs Douwe Egberts, will be the largest pure-play coffee company but will still be much smaller than Nestlé's business.

Based in the Netherlands, it will have annual revenue of more than $7bn and brands including Carte Noir, Gevalia, Pilao and Senseo.

The deal, which would give Mondelez $5bn in cash and a 49% stake in the business, is expected to close in 2015.

The global coffee business has undergone a spate of deals lately, fuelled in part by the rise of single-serve capsules and consumers' growing taste for higher quality drinks.

JAB, co-run by former Reckitt Benckiser chief executive Bart Becht, former Mars finance chief Olivier Goudet and former Anheuser-Busch InBev chairman Peter Harf, has bought three coffee companies since 2012.

In other industry deals this year, Coca-Cola took a stake in Keurig Green Mountain and Italian coffee company Massimo Zanetti Beverages plans to list a 30% stake on the market this year.