Lavazza soaks up Canadian coffee brand from Swander Pace

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Luigi Lavazza S.p.A, an Italian coffee brand owned by The Lavazza Group, has purchased a majority stake in organic coffee maker Kicking Horse Coffee Ltd from Swander Pace Capital. The $215 million deal reinforces the buyer’s strategy to pursue international growth, diversification, and consolidating its competitive position.

Kicking Horse manufactures ground and whole bean coffee from its headquarters in Invermere, Canada. The company describes its organic coffee as pure and pesticide free. Hola, Grizzly Claw, Three Sisters, Hoodoo Jo, 454 Horse Power and Cliff Hanger Espresso are among Kicking Horse’s coffee flavors.

"Kicking Horse Coffee represents one of the 'local jewels' the Lavazza Group continues to seek as part of its globalization and premium positioning strategy," states Lavazza CEO Antonio Baravalle. "Today, organic fair-trade coffee is one of the fastest-growing trends at the international level, and in North America in particular.”

Lavazza has roasted and manufactured coffee for four family generations since 1985. The buyer is based in Turin, Italy and employs more than 3,000 workers. Lavazza has operations servicing at home, away-from-home, and office coffee needs.

Swander Pace first invested in Kicking Horse in 2012 through Branch Brook Holdings LLC, an affiliate company partnered with Jefferson Capital Partners and United Natural Foods Inc. The San Francisco-based private equity firm has invested in more than 45 companies since its inception in 1996. Swander Pace targets companies with up to $500 million in revenue. Swander Pace, led by managing directors Andrew Richards, Mark Poff, Mo Stout, Corby Reese, Rob DesMarais and Heather Smith Thorne, closed its sixth fund in Sept. 2016 to focus on the middle-market consumer sector. The PE firm recently acquired Asian cuisine distributor Passport Food Group, baby product manufacturer Halo Innovations Inc., and vitamin retailer Swanson Health Products.

Other middle-market beverage deals include: Cott Corp.’s (NYSE: COT) purchase of S&D Coffee Inc. and coffee machine provider Eden Springs; Monster Beverage Corp.’s acquisition of American Fruits & Flavors for nearly $690 million; Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.’s (NYSE: DPS) buying all of Bai Brands LLC; General Atlantic’s minority investment in Joe & the Juice, a chain of urban juice and coffee bars; and Falconhead Capital LLC’s purchase of soda maker Multi-Flow Industries LLC.

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