Lily O’Brien’s owner silent on sale reports

Lily O’Brien’s owner Carlyle Cardinal Ireland has refused to comment on reports the chocolate brand is up for sale.

According to The Irish Times, Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI), a fund jointly owned and run by US company Carlyle and Irish-owned Cardinal Capital group, has entered into exclusive talks with an unnamed bidder to sell Lily O’Brien’s, which was founded by Mary Ann O’Brien in Kildare, Ireland, in 1992.

The report adds that CCI paid around €15 million three years ago for control of the company, and the fund is now expected to triple its money.

Earlier this year, the fund is understood to have hired IBI Corporate Finance to find a buyer for Lily O’Brien’s. Citing sources, the report says the sale process is now well advanced, with a single preferred bidder, although it is unclear whether this is a trade buyer or another private equity buyer.

When contacted by Confectionery Production, a spokesperson for The Carlyle Group declined to comment on the reports.

Last year, Lily O’Brien’s introduced a range of premium chocolate bars in the UK, which included seven flavours: Irresistibly Milk Salted Caramel, Dulce de Leche, Malted Chocolate Crunch, Peppermint Crunch, Caramel Crunch, Orange & Bergamot Ganache and Delectably Dark or Irresistibly Milk Chocolate.

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