Unilever Plc, the owners of Lipton and PG Tips, has agreed to sell its global tea business, ekaterra, to CVC Capital Partners for €4.5 billion on a cash-free, debt-free basis.

This is according to a press release from Unilever titled, “Unilever to sell its Tea business, ekaterra, to CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII for €4.5 bn,” and published on its website.

Nairametrics reported earlier that Unilever Nigeria confirmed its intent to spin off its tea business into a separate legal entity. , a move that could potentially affect its top-line revenue. Hence this move is in line with its previously outline strategy.

What they are saying

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

“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.”

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.

What you should know 

In recent years, demand for tea has been stifled by a trend to delicious herbal alternatives and fancy coffee. In January 2020, the firm announced that it would begin a strategic evaluation of its tea business, which could result in a partial or complete sale.
Later, it decided to reduce the scope of the tea sale while keeping its activities in growing areas. Unilever’s tea units in India and Indonesia, as well as its partnerships in the ready-to-drink tea industry, such as its interest in a joint venture with PepsiCo Inc, are not included in the transaction.