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Unilever to Acquire TAZO® Brand from Starbucks

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Unilever today announced an agreement to acquire the TAZO® brand from Starbucks. TAZO® is a leading brand in the fast-growing specialty tea category.

Under the asset purchase agreement, Unilever will acquire the TAZO® brand and all related intellectual property, signature recipes and inventory for US$384 million. The transaction represents a multiple of 10 times pro forma EBIT. TAZO® had sales of US$112.5 million over the past year*.

Founded in 1994, TAZO® has a strong position in Specialty Black, Green and Herbal teas, as well as liquid concentrates focused in the Chai Latte segment. The fast-growing specialty tea segment makes up 48% of the total US$1.6 billion (FY 2016) at-home tea category and trends suggest it will become more prominent in the future**. TAZO® is sold primarily in grocery, mass and convenience channels in the US and Canada, and is offered in formats including packaged teas, K-Cup® pods and bottled ready-to-drink teas.

“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,” said Kees Kruythoff, President, Unilever North America. “TAZO®’s solid position in the fast-growing specialty tea segment, coupled with Unilever’s tea expertise, presents a fantastic growth opportunity.”

“TAZO® represents another strategic addition which strengthens our tea portfolio towards high growth segments. Its artfully crafted specialty teas perfectly complement our global tea business, which includes Lipton, Pure Leaf, PG Tips, T2 and our recent addition, Pukka,” said Kevin Havelock, President of Refreshment, Unilever.

Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

*LTM 6/30/2017 TAZO® Net Revenue is $112MM ($112,471,883).

**Unilever calculation based in part on data reported by Nielsen through its ScanTrack Service for the tea category for the 52-week period ending 12/17/16, for the total U.S. market, xAOC, according to the Unilever custom product hierarchy. Copyright © 2017, The Nielsen Company.

About Unilever North America:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home Care, Personal Care and Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. In the United States and Canada, the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe, Becel, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Caress, Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy, Country Crock, Degree, Dollar Shave Club, Dove, Fruttare, Good Humor, Hellmann’s, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, Klondike, Knorr, Lever 2000, Lipton, Magnum, Nexxus, Noxzema, PG Tips, Pond’s, Popsicle, Promise, Pukka, Pure Leaf, Q-tips, Seventh Generation, Simple, Sir Kensington’s, St. Ives, Suave, T2, Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto, TIGI, TRESemmé and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies.

Unilever employs more than 9,000 people across North America – generating more than $10 billion in sales in 2016.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands are growing 50% faster than the rest of the business and delivered more than 60% of the company’s growth in 2016.

Unilever was ranked number one in its sector in the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index, it achieved the highest environmental score of 5. It led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2017 GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey for the seventh year running. Unilever has pledged to become carbon positive in its operations by 2030.

For more information on Unilever U.S. and its brands visit: www.unileverusa.com

For more information on Unilever Canada and its brands visit: www.unilever.ca

Cautionary Statement/Safe Harbour:

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including ‘forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements related to underlying sales growth and underlying operating margin. Words such as ‘will’, ‘aim’, ‘expects’, ‘anticipates’, ‘intends’, ‘looks’, ‘believes’, ‘vision’, or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Unilever Group (the “Group”). They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.

Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the material or principal factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are: Unilever's global brands not meeting consumer preferences; Unilever's ability to innovate and remain competitive; Unilever's investment choices in its portfolio management; inability to find sustainable solutions to support long-term growth; customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the cost of raw materials and commodities; the production of safe and high quality products; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic and political risks and natural disasters; the effect of climate change on Unilever's business; financial risks; failure to meet high and ethical standards; and managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group's filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Annual Report on Form 20-F 2016 and the Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2016.

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Unilever
Joelle Hutcheon, 201-894-7760
Unilever Media Relations
Joelle.Hutcheon@unilever.com

Source: Unilever