Godiva confirms global expansion move with partial sale of Asian businesses

The Belgian-founded Godiva Chocolatier confectionery group is to sell part of its Asian assets to MBK Partners as part of a wider global expansion plan for the business, for an undisclosed sum.

As the firm, owned by Yildiz Holding, explained, MBK is to purchase the retail and distribution operations in four of Godiva’s 100 plus markets in Japan, South Korea, Australia and the future rights to develop New Zealand.

This includes Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), digital-commerce, travel retail (for Japan and South Korea) and more than 300 retail stores. The transaction also includes the Godiva production facility in Brussels that supplies product to these markets. All remaining 100 plus markets will continue to be owned and operated by Godiva.

The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both parties and the transaction is anticipated to close in mid-2019, subject to the customary closing conditions of completion of standard Belgium employee works council consultations and expiry of the relevant competition authority waiting period.

Post-close, Godiva Chocolatier will retain exclusive brand ownership in all global markets granting a perpetual license to MBK Partners and will continue to own and operate the remaining markets in over 100 countries.

Godiva will continue to source its products from the Belgian facility together with the production facility it owns in PA, USA, and its affiliate facilities in Istanbul, Turkey. “Since 2008 we have been very pleased with the performance of Godiva, having nearly doubled its revenue and the number of stores operating globally, and continue to see tremendous upside for this brand moving forward,” said Murat Ülker, Chairman of Godiva and Yildiz Holding.

“Realising the potential ahead, together with Godiva leadership, we conducted a strategic review to explore new ways for generating the necessary cash flow to fuel the robust growth. This transaction is an ideal solution that provides the momentum to fuel expansion in other high potential areas of our portfolio.”

Annie Young-Scrivner, CEO of Godiva Chocolatier, added: “We believe this deal is a win-win for everyone. It gives us the financial flexibility we need to execute our 5x growth strategy by accelerating efforts in new and existing markets and

supporting the plan of opening of more than 2,000 cafes globally while preserving our Belgian legacy, quality, and craftmanship that have helped to make our brand iconic.”

“We received remarkable interest from a dozen blue chip investors, many of whom were actively engaged in the negotiation until the last rounds,said Nurtac Afridi, Head of Strategy and M&A in Yildiz Holding. We have long treasured the Godiva brand and believe it represents significant upside for any investor. The know-how of the GODIVA team and its R&D excellence coupled with MBK Partners’ expertise in these markets will deliver the next level of exponential growth and value creation for the brand.

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