Blue Bottle Coffee Sells Majority Stake To Nestle

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Blue Bottle Coffee announced Thursday that it would sell a majority stake to Nestle, the world’s largest food and beverage company.

The craft coffee company, which started as a home delivery business operating out of an Oakland shed 15 years ago, has grown into dozens of cafes in the Bay Area, New York, Toyko and other cities. Blue Bottle has also expanded into supermarkets with a line of ready-to-drink iced and cold brew coffees.

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed by either company, but a report in the Financial Times said Nestle may be paying up to $500 million for the 68 percent stake in Blue Bottle.

Under the agreement, company management retains a 32 percent stake and Blue Bottle will continue to operate from Oakland. CEO Bryan Meehan and company founder James Freeman, who is Blue Bottle’s chief product officer, will also remain in place.

“Fifteen years ago I started this company with the goal of roasting, brewing, and selling superlative coffee,” Freeman said in a statement. “Nestlé’s belief in our coffee, our process, and, most importantly, our people, assured us that this is a deal that will enable us to dream longer and further into the future than I previously imagined possible.”

Company officials said the deal will help Blue Bottle expand nationally and internationally and expand their product line.

The Times reported that Nestle has options to buy the remaining stake in the company, if certain performance criteria are met.

Blue Bottle is expected to open new cafes in Boston and Miami in the upcoming months.

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