CVC Capital Pays $5.1 Billion for Unilever Tea
By Dan Bolton
Bold big-scale investments in tea companies are rare. Five years ago Unilever spent a combined $500 million acquiring retail chain T2 in 2013, completing the roll-up in 2017 when it bought the TAZO brand from Starbucks and Pukka Herbs. But these acquisitions were tactical and defensive, designed to stimulate revenue in light of a moribund black tea category by diversifying an aging stable of legacy brands from Lipton to Lyons. The $5.1 billion deal announced by Luxembourg-based CVC Capital this week is 10x greater, signaling an intent to revitalize and elevate the portfolio. Unilever spent the past year shaping a new corporate model for the large-scale production of sustainable tea but was unwilling to finance it. Ekaterra’s vision could only be realized if the corporate carve-out attracted aggressive bidding. Fortunately, it did. Finalists CVC Capital, Carlyle, and Advent International each spent time and money evaluating the potential rewards for investors. The low bid of $4 billion demonstrates that independently they agree that Ekaterra is headed in the right direction. CVC’s winning bid was 14 times (EBITDA), a measure of the portfolio’s basic contribution to Unilever’s earnings. All three bids embraced the complexity of re-imagining tea at scale. Insiders say CVC won the day with determination and grit. Read more…
A New Theory on How Green Tea Promotes Longevity
By Dan Bolton
Researchers at ETH Zürich have discovered that green tea catechins are not passive antioxidants but pro-oxidants that act to strengthen cells against attack by free radicals, leading to longer life and greater fitness. “Catechins, aren’t in fact antioxidants, but rather pro-oxidants that improve the organism’s ability to defend itself, similar to a vaccination,” writes study leader Dr. Michael Ristow, professor for Energy Metabolism at the University’s Department of Health Sciences and Technology. “Green tea activates genes that produce certain enzymes that deactivate free radicals in nematodes, the test organisms chosen for the study,” he explained. The findings from the study translate well to humans, said Ristow. “The basic biochemical processes by which organisms neutralize oxygen free radicals are conserved in the evolution history and are present in everything from unicellular yeast to humans,” he said. Learn more…
Latest Podcast Episodes
Episode 45: India Tea Industry Reforms
Tea news for the week ending Nov. 26
| In the Black: Holiday Sales Surge | CVC Capital Pays $5.1 Billion for Unilever Tea Portfolio | Weather Stations: A Climate Change Imperative for Tea
Episode 44: India Tea Industry Reforms
Tea news for the week ending Nov. 19
| Glasgow Climate Pact Boosts Morale but Will Momentum Build? | India Tea Industry Reforms | Drinking Tea Linked to Lowers Risk and Severity of Stroke | Golden Leaf Awards Return
Episode 43: The Desirability of Sustainability
Tea news for the week ending Nov. 12
| Ekaterra Tea Pledges to be Net Zero at the UN Convention on Climate Change | Grocery Shoppers Say They Will Pay More for Sustainably Produced Foods | Inflation Demonstrates a Troubling Persistence
Episode 42: Tea Growers Face Climate-Related Financial Disaster
Tea news for the week ending Nov. 5
| A New Theory on How Green Tea Promotes Longevity | Globally the Bubble Tea Business is Frothing | Assam Smallholders Collective Launches National Tea Brand
Episode 41: Tea Growers Face Climate-Related Financial Disaster
Tea news for the week ending Oct. 29
| Fairtrade International Predicts Climate-Related Financial Disaster | Chemical Fertilizer Supplies Disrupted | Holiday Helpers are in Short Supply
Episode 40: Sri Lanka Abandons Fertilizer Ban
Tea news for the week ending Oct. 22
| Sri Lanka Abandons Fertilizer Ban | Kenya’s KTDA Sets a Minimum Price for Auctioned Tea | AVPA Announces Teas of the World Winners
Episode 39: Food Inflation and Tea
Tea news for the week ending Oct. 15
| Food Inflation and Tea | Tea Cargo Woes Worsen | COVID’s Impact on the North American Tea Market
Episode 38: India Tea Industry Reforms
Tea news for the week ending Oct. 8
| India Announces Tea Industry Reforms | US Considers Granting Exemptions to Chinese Tariffs | A Tribute to Nepal Teamaker Morris Orchard
Episode 37: Organic Tea Production at Scale
Tea news for the week ending Oct. 1
| Kenya Exports Saturate the Black Tea Market | COVID Depresses Japanese Tea Business in Unique Ways | Unilever Recognized as Top Food and Agricultural Benchmark
Episode 36: Holiday Sales Forecast
Tea news for the week ending Sept. 24
| Retail Forecasters Predict Happy Holidays | Restaurant Reticence is Declining | Restructured DAVIDsTEA Expands into Pharmacies
India’s highest levels of government are reforming the basic structure of agriculture. The intent is to loosen regulations on pricing and storage and to permit direct sales of produce. The rules have protected India’s farmers from the free market for decades. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the reforms a “watershed moment” for Indian agriculture. Tea Board of India Chairman Prabhat Bezboruah describes a new board mission to increase consumption, promote tea exports and expand markets at home and overseas. – Aravinda Anantharaman
Tea Biz offers insight in real-time for beverage professionals scanning daily news items about their trade.
Tea is both art and craft. It nourishes and inspires. It is the most ancient of plant-based medicines, simultaneously energizing the body as it soothes the mind. Intimately local in character, the tea trade exerts global influence, employing millions to supply consumers at far greater volumes than coffee.
It is a fascinating, intricate topic… far more complex than one person can master. That is why the Tea Biz Podcast enlists 40 voices skilled in 12 languages to tell the story of tea: authentic reporting relies on the expertise of tea professionals who know the tea lands from birth and speak the native tongue.
Transparency is storytelling grounded at origin.
QTrade Teas & Herbs understands that a successful tea blend goes beyond the creative fusion of appearance, aroma, and flavor.
Our multi-award-winning product-development team is passionate about converting natural ingredients into sensory experiences that customers crave. Every recipe is formulated with a commercial backbone of dependable, quality sourcing with a pricing structure that supports a safe, regulated, profitable, and scalable blend.
QTrade meets every brand’s retail, food service, and E-Commerce needs.
Tea Biz TEAm
“What came first, the tea or the story? For every tea I drink, there seems to be a story in the wings, waiting for a listener. Tea and stories, can’t have one without the other! I am in search of both.”
“The world of tea has endless stories. Stories of history, culture, business, agriculture and tradition. I feel so lucky to be able to tell some of them.”
“Tea draws us in. The tea itself, teapots, ceramics, and the stories behind the tea’s own books. I can’t resist picking up yet another book on tea and adding it to my tea bookshelf. Can you?”
“Tea is proven to enhance the well-being of those who drink several cups a day. It inspires a process of discovery among imbibers, cultivating a deep appreciation for the growing, crafting, and preparation of great tasting tea. Finding your own favorite tea leads to a daily ritual and, in time, a healthy life-long habit.”