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Jollibee-led group agrees to buy Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Smashburger owner to acquire brand in $350M deal

Jollibee Foods Corp., the Philippine’s largest restaurant operator and owner of the U.S.-based Smashburger brand, has agreed to buy the Los Angeles-based Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand in a $350 million deal.

Manila-based Jollibee is investing $100 million for a 80% share of a Singapore-based holding company, Java Ventures LLC, and the remaining 20% will be owned by Jollibee’s partner in its Vietnam coffee and restaurant business, Highlands Coffee, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

As part of the transaction, Jollibee has agreed to invest another $250 million, part of which will be used to pay down Coffee Bean’s debt, Jollibee said.

John Fuller, president and CEO of Coffee Bean parent International Coffee & Tea LLC, said in an email that the deal would take about 60 days to complete.

Tony Tan Caktiong, chairman of Jollibee Foods, said in a statement: “The acquisition of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand will be JFC’s largest and most multinational so far, with business presence in 27 countries.”

He added that the deal would add 14% to Jollibee Foods’ global systemwide sales and 26% to its total store network.

“Combined with Highlands Coffee, with business mostly in Vietnam, this acquisition will enable JFC to become an important player in the large, fast-growing and profitable coffee business,” Caktiong said.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has 1,189 locations in the United States, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. About three-quarters of its units are franchised.

Jollibee, which had 3,195 restaurant outlets in the Philippines as of June 30 and more in other countries, in December completed its acquisition of Denver-based Smashburger.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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