Lipton and Pukka turn to Luxembourg

Pukka is one of 34 tea brands acquired by CVC Capital Partners. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Pukka is one of 34 tea brands acquired by CVC Capital Partners. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Luxembourg fund CVC Capital Partners has acquired the tea business of the giant Unilever for €4.5bn. The portfolio includes the Lipton, Pukka and PG Tips brands.

Its name may not ring a bell, but with 34 different brands, Ekaterra is the world's leading tea company with revenue of around €2bn as of 2020. Unilever sold this business last week to the Luxembourg fund CVC Capital Partners for €4.5bn, according to a joint statement.

“Ekaterra is a great business, built on a solid foundation of leading brands and a purpose-driven approach to its products, people and communities. Ekaterra is well positioned in an attractive market to accelerate its future growth, and to lead the sustainable development of the category,” said Pev Hooper, managing partner at CVC Capital Partners.

“Moving our portfolio into higher growth spaces is an important part of our growth strategy for Unilever. Our decision to sell Ekaterra demonstrates further progress in achieving our plans,” said Unilever CEO Alan Jope.

Iced teas excluded

The Lipton, PG Tips, Pukka, T2 and Tazo brands are expected to join the Luxembourg-based fund. The fund manages approximately $125bn in assets. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022, pending regulatory approvals. Finally, the transaction excludes Unilever's tea business in India, Nepal and Indonesia, as well as Unilever's interests in the Pepsi Lipton joint ventures, which own the Lipton Ice Tea, Pure Leaf and Brisk brands.

Headquartered in the UK, Unilever has more than 400 consumer product brands used daily by some 2.5 billion people worldwide. Among the best-known brands are Dove and Rexona in skincare, Knorr and Hellmann's in food, and Omo and Cif in household products. In 2020, Unilever's three divisions had a combined turnover of €50.1bn.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.