Lavazza Group buys majority stake in Canada's Kicking Horse Coffee


The Lavazza Group has purchased an 80% equity stake in Kicking Horse Coffee.

The B.C.-based organic and fair-trade coffee roaster was valued at $215 million.

The Italian coffee company acquired its stake in Kicking Horse from a private equity fund that has held the investment since 2012.

Kicking Horse co-founder Elana Rosenfeld will keep the remaining 20% stake in the company and continue to serve as its CEO. Lavazza CEO Antonio Baravalle will become chairman.

Baravalle said in a statement that Kicking Horse, which offers distinct blends like Kick Ass, Smart Ass and Hoodoo Jo, is a leader in the fast-growing fair trade, organic market that fits well with Lavazza's portfolio.

In recent years, Lavazza has also bought Carte Noire in France and Denmark's Merrild as part of its acquisition strategy.

This latest deal comes after years of double-digit growth for Kicking Horse as it has expanded into the U.S. Rosenfeld said overall sales have tripled since 2012.

She said the deal could broaden Kicking Horse's reach since Lavazza is already selling in some 90 countries, though there are no plans to expand the actual number of blends beyond the 12 they already offer.

Rosenfeld started the company in 1996 and opened its first cafe in 2008 near its headquarters in Invermere.

Kicking Horse is sold in grocery stores, cafes and online in Canada and the U.S.

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