GODIVA Chocolatier, owned by Yildiz Holding, is selling select GODIVA assets to MBK Partners as part of a global strategy it hopes will help grow its business.

Under the terms of the transaction, MBK Partners will purchase the retail and distribution operations in four of GODIVA's 100 plus markets: Japan, South Korea, Australia and the future rights to develop New Zealand.  This includes Consumer Packaged Goods, digital-commerce, travel retail (for Japan and South Korea) and more than 300 retail stores. 

The transaction also includes the GODIVA production facility in Brussels that supplies product to these markets.

All remaining 100 plus markets will continue to be owned and operated by GODIVA. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The agreement executed today has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both parties and the transaction is anticipated to close in mid-2019, subject to the customary closing conditions of completion of standard Belgium employee works council consultations and expiry of the relevant competition authority waiting period. 

Post-close, GODIVA Chocolatier will retain exclusive brand ownership in all global markets granting a perpetual license to MBK Partners and will continue to own and operate the remaining markets in over 100 countries. GODIVA also will continue to source its products from the Belgian facility together with the production facility it owns in Pennsylvania, and its affiliate facilities in Istanbul, Turkey.

"We believe this deal is a win-win for everyone,” Said Annie Young-Scrivner, CEO of GODIVA Chocolatier. “It gives us the financial flexibility we need to execute our 5x growth strategy by accelerating efforts in new and existing markets and supporting the plan of opening of more than 2,000 cafes globally while preserving our Belgian legacy, quality, and craftsmanship that have helped to make our brand iconic."

Nurtac Afridi, Head of Strategy and M&A in Yildiz Holding said they received interest from a dozen blue chip investors, many of whom were actively engaged in the negotiation until last round.

 "We have long treasured the GODIVA brand and believe it represents significant upside for any investor,” Afridi said. “The know-how of the GODIVA team and its R&D excellence coupled with MBK Partners' expertise in these markets will deliver the next level of exponential growth and value creation for the brand."

Strategic Business Rationale

Among GODIVA's 100 plus markets, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand collectively have some of the strongest brand equity today and include more than 300 retail stores, making these regions the most compelling areas for monetization. In Japan, GODIVA has almost 90 percent aided brand awareness and is the number one retail brand in the country with the highest premium time spent in stores, according to Godiva.

At the same time, there is significant unrealized opportunity for the brand that, when coupled with the infusion of capital, infrastructure and capabilities from MBK Partners, is expected to deliver a strong return on investment.

The structure of the deal will ensure the preservation of GODIVA's Belgian legacy as it continues to invest in the Belgian market. GODIVA will maintain its European headquarters in Brussels, Belgium; it will continue to own and operate its Belgium retail stores, travel retail and CPG channels; and it will continue its Brussels-based Center of Excellence for R&D.  

GODIVA will also maintain exclusive rights to its iconic recipes, continue the development of chef-inspired creations, and uphold its commitment to the Belgian craftsmanship that defines its premium brand. 

The factory in Brussels will continue to produce and export GODIVA products globally under the ownership of MBK Partners. GODIVA also will retain its prestigious Belgian Royal Warrant to supply goods to the royal court, an honor it has had for the last 50 years.