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11/19/2021

Unilever Selling Tea Biz for $5 Billion

Lisa Johnston
Senior Editor
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Unilever is selling its Ekaterra tea business, which includes 34 brands. Editorial credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com
Unilever is selling its Ekaterra tea business, which includes 34 brands. Editorial credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

Unilever is selling its global tea business to a private equity firm for about $5.08 billion.

CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII is picking up its Ekaterra tea business, which consists of 34 brands — including Lipton, Tazo, PG tips, Pukka and T2 — that generated about $2.26 billion in revenue in 2020.

It includes 11 production factories in four continents and tea estates in three countries, but excludes Unilever’s tea business in India, Nepal and Indonesia, as well as its interests in the Pepsi Lipton ready-to-drink tea joint ventures and associated distribution businesses.

[See also: Unilever Latest Investment Offsets Plastics Footprint By Half]

The deal, expected to close in the second half of 2022, marks another move in Unilever’s larger strategy to evolve into areas with higher growth potential, such as s home care, beauty, personal care and foods.

News that the No. 6 publicly owned consumer goods company might sell the tea business first surfaced early last year as a result of slow sales growth.  

“We are proud of the place that our tea business has in our company’s history,” said Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, in a statement. “We look forward to seeing Ekaterra, with its strong brands and global footprint, prosper under CVC’s ownership.”

Pev Hooper, CVC managing partner, described Ekaterra as being well positioned in an attractive market where it can accelerate future growth and lead the category’s sustainable development.

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