Alantra advised Montezuma on its sale to Inverleith
SECTORFood & Beverage
Alantra, the global mid-market investment banking and asset management firm, has advised the founders of premium chocolate brand Montezuma’s, on its sale to Edinburgh-based private equity firm Inverleith, a specialist investor in consumer businesses.Inverleith has taken a majority stake in the business for an undisclosed sum.
Montezuma’s has established itself as one of the largest leading independent British manufacturers of premium artisanal chocolate. Montezuma’s manufactures chocolate bars, truffles and gifting products, runs a subscription ‘Chocolate Club’ and has retail stores in the south-east of England and London. Founded by husband and wife team, Helen and Simon Pattinson in 2000, with a chocolate shop in Brighton eighteen years ago, the Company has grown into a leading independent player in the premium UK chocolate market.
Montezuma’s is recognised for the quality of its chocolate with award-winning flavours. All Montezuma’s products are manufactured in the UK at its facilities in Chichester, by its highly skilled workforce which consists of over 100 employees.
The investment from Inverleith LLP will see the company expand the distribution of its chocolate products in the UK and overseas, continue its focus on chocolate innovation, with products such as its vegan, dairy free, “Like No Udder” chocolate bar as well as its ground-breaking 100% cocoa “Absolute Black” products.
Charles Lanceley, Director at Alantra, who advised on the deal, said:“Montezuma’s is at the forefront of the British premium chocolate industry and has experienced strong growth due to its continued focus on flavour innovation and product quality. Growth of the premium chocolate industry over the last decade has been driven by an increasing awareness of the functional benefits of certain types of chocolate, particularly high cocoa/low sugar chocolate which is rich in anti-oxidants.
“We are seeing a huge increase in investment in premium products with genuine functional benefits. Montezuma’s is a leader in this space and we are delighted to have advised the founders on this transaction. The business has a strong future ahead with its new private equity investors Inverleith, who have an excellent track record in growing consumer brands.”
Commenting on the Inverleith investment, founders Helen and Simon Pattinson said: ‘We are delighted to have secured Inverleith as the majority investor into Montezuma’s. After eighteen years at the helm, we knew this was the right time to seek additional investment and the right partner. It was extremely important for us to find and work with an investor partner who would recognise and respect the company and brand we have created and love, our values, our innovative approach and the quality of our products. We feel Inverleith fully understands the brand’s future, shares our continued passion for what we have developed and will ensure that we capture new opportunities for the brand both at home and overseas.”
Following the majority sale to Inverleith LLP, after a period of transition, Helen and Simon Pattinson will step back from the day-to-day running of the business, whilst retaining roles as Ambassadors and Directors for the Company.
Alantra’s international Food & Beverage sector team comprises over 25 senior M&A practitioners based around the globe that work closely to bring together strategic trade acquirers and investors with business owners looking to realise value. This is Alantra’s third UK Food & Beverage transaction in in as many months, having advised premium drinks brand Coldpress on its investment from Buckland Capital Partners, and the shareholders of coconut snack brand Ape Snacks on its sale to a private investor.