Tazo makes a number of hot packaged teas, including these inspired by dessert flavours.
Unilever will acquire Starbucks’ tea brand Tazo and all related intellectual property for $384 million.
Founded in 1994, the brand has an extensive range of black, green and herbal teas – available in both hot and iced formats. It also sells a line of liquid concentrates focused on the chai latte segment and produces a number of RTD bottled teas, as well as Keurig K-Cup pods.
Mostly sold throughout the US and Canada, it was acquired by Starbucks for $8.1 million in 1999.
Unilever North America president Kees Kruythoff said: “With its strong appeal to millennials, Tazo is a perfect strategic fit for our US portfolio that includes exciting new brands such as Seventh Generation, Dollar Shave Club and Sir Kensington’s.
“Tazo’s solid position in the fast-growing speciality tea segment, coupled with Unilever’s tea expertise, presents a fantastic growth opportunity.”
As well as hot teas, Tazo sells K-Cup pods, liquid concentrates and bottled RTD teas.
And Kevin Havelock, president of refreshment for Unilever, added: “Tazo represents another strategic addition which strengthens our tea portfolio towards high growth segments. Its artfully crafted speciality teas perfectly complement our global tea business, which includes Lipton, Pure Leaf, PG Tips, T2 and our recent addition, Pukka.”
According to Unilever, the fast-growing speciality tea segment makes up almost half of the total $1.6 billion at-home tea category, and trends suggest it will become more prominent in the future.
Starbucks chief executive Kevin Johnson said: “Over the past five years, we have established Teavana as our primary global brand focused on the premium tea segment. With our growth strategy for premium tea exclusively focused on Teavana, we are pleased to transition our Tazo business to Unilever.”
The transaction is expected to close during the fourth calendar quarter of 2017, with complete transition between the two companies by the end of calendar year 2018, subject to regulatory approval.
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