Yildiz Holding-owned Godiva Chocolatier has sold select assets in the Asia-Pacific region to South Korean private equity firm MBK Partners.
Under the deal, MBK Partners will purchase the retail and distribution operations in four of Godiva’s markets: Japan, South Korea, Australia and the future rights to develop New Zealand.
This includes consumer packaged goods, digital commerce, travel retail (for Japan and South Korea) and more than 300 retail stores. The transaction also includes the Godiva production facility in Brussels, Belgium, that supplies products to these markets.
Post-close, Godiva Chocolatier will retain exclusive brand ownership in all global markets, granting a perpetual license to MBK Partners, and will continue to own and operate the remaining markets in more than 100 countries.
Godiva, which has been part of Yildiz’s Pladis division since 2016, will continue to source its products from the Belgian facility, together with the production facility it owns in Pennsylvania and its affiliate facilities in Istanbul, Turkey.
The confectionery company said there is a “significant unrealised opportunity” for the brand in the Asia-Pacific region.
Murat Ülker, chairman of Godiva and Yildiz Holding, said: “Since 2008 we have been very pleased with the performance of Godiva, having nearly doubled its revenue and the number of stores operating globally, and continue to see tremendous upside for this brand moving forward.
“Realising the potential ahead, together with Godiva leadership, we conducted a strategic review to explore new ways for generating the necessary cash flow to fuel the robust growth. This transaction is an ideal solution that provides the momentum to fuel expansion in other high-potential areas of our portfolio.”
Nurtac Afridi, head of strategy and M&A at Yildiz Holding, said: “We received remarkable interest from a dozen blue-chip investors, many of whom were actively engaged in the negotiation until the last rounds. We have long treasured the Godiva brand and believe it represents significant upside for any investor.
“The know-how of the Godiva team and its R&D excellence coupled with MBK Partners’ expertise in these markets will deliver the next level of exponential growth and value creation for the brand.”
It is expected the transaction will close mid-2019.
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