LONDON — JAB, the largest shareholder in Coty Inc. and former owner of Jimmy Choo and Belstaff, is shifting quickly from luxury to lattes, striking a deal to buy Britain’s Pret A Manger gourmet sandwich chain from Bridgepoint private equity and other minority shareholders.
The transaction is expected to complete later this summer, and the terms of the deal were not disclosed. JAB is acquiring its stake in Pret through an investment vehicle of JAB Consumer Fund and JAB Holding Co., the company said Tuesday.
Pret operates 530 stores worldwide and has group revenues of 879 million pounds. The chain’s stronghold is in the U.K., although principals said it has a rapidly growing international footprint with a presence in the U.S., Hong Kong, China and France.
The food is freshly made every day in shop kitchens, and Pret offers unsold meals to charity at the end of each day. The business is known for its strong, can-do corporate culture and enthusiastic staff members.
JAB announced last year that it planned to exit the luxury business and focus more on coffee and food. It went on to shift Choo and Belstaff, and earlier this year it agreed to sell Bally to the Chinese conglomerate Shandong Ruyi. It will retain a minority stake in Bally when the deal completes later this year.
Olivier Goudet, JAB partner and chief executive officer, called Pret’s growth story “extraordinary” and said that management’s “proven track record and commitment to customer service, investment in innovation and approach to freshly prepared food, position Pret well as the company capitalizes on evolving consumer taste and lifestyle preferences.”
He added that JAB planned to work with the current Pret management team while promoting the brand “and supporting Pret’s impressive culture for the next phase in the company’s growth with JAB.”
JAB Holding Co. and JAB Consumer Fund have controlling stakes in Keurig Green Mountain beverages, Jacobs Douwe Egberts coffee, Panera Bread, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co., Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc., Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Espresso House, the largest branded coffee shop chain in Scandinavia.
JAB Holding Co. also has a minority stake in Reckitt Benckiser PLC, which specializes in health, hygiene and home products.
Bridgepoint, which owned Pret for more than a decade, said that 2017 was the ninth consecutive year of like-for-like sales growth.
“This has been a successful investment for Bridgepoint and illustrates how private equity, investing for the long-term and working with talented management can deliver strong growth,” said William Jackson, chairman of Pret and managing partner of Bridgepoint.
Pret opened in London in 1986 and serves more than 300,000 customers every day, according to the company.