Lavazza, the historic Italian coffee company, has offered to buy the French brand Carte Noire for an estimated $880 million. Leading European news agencies believe that the deal could see Lavazza take a commanding market-leading position in France as a result and, crucially, see their revenue in the country treble.
The formal contracts haven’t been signed, yet, but this is a significant advancement in a saga that for months showed no signs of drawing to a conclusion.
In a statement, Lavazza announced that they had tabled a binding offer for Carte Noire’s business within the thirty one nations that comprise the European Economic Area, subject to official approval from the French authorities and the European Commission.
Lavazza have had a long held interest in acquiring Carte Noire from Mondelez, but the last we heard a decision was supposed to be confirmed by June. This deal was thrown into doubt earlier this month when Lavazza, the seventh biggest coffee roasters in the world, purchased the Merrild brand from D.E Master Blenders.
In the fallout of that announcement, Mondelez stated that they were speaking to other interest parties.
But, now, all that seems to be in the past.
Lavazza has said that this deal will see them take over control of Carte Noire’s roast and ground coffee, Nespresso-compatible capsules, filter pads and the French company’s facilities near Montpellier.
Speaking to Reuters, Lavazza’s Chief Executive Antonio Baravalle indicated that the company would be looking to increase its annual revenues within the next decade to secure their long-term future.
“Now is perhaps the moment for Italian players to make a meaningful transition from a domestically focused business to international expansion,” commented Hope Lee, a Euromonitor analyst,
“Although success is not guaranteed, it is a risk that they may have to take.”
As a result of the ongoing merger between the Dutch group D.E Master Blenders and the U.S-based Mondelez International, the Carte Noire brand – which is currently owned by Mondelez – was put up for sale in order to satisfy the European Commission, who were worried that the joint venture would have an unfair monopoly in Europe.