Nestlé says it bought a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee, a high-end coffee company.
Big companies have been hot for premium coffee: Peet's Coffee & Tea bought Stumptown two years ago, and also took a majority stake in Intelligentsia weeks later. And coffee chain Starbucks has been opening high-end Reserve stores.
Swiss-based Nestlé, which already owns coffee brands Nescafe and Nespresso, says Oakland, California-based Blue Bottle will help it boost its coffee business in the United States. Blue Bottle has about 40 cafés in New York, San Francisco and other big cities. The number of Blue Bottle Coffee shops is expected to reach 55 by the end of 2017, up from 29 at the end of last year.
According to a press release announcing the deal, Blue Bottle Coffee will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity, and management and employees will retain a minority stake. Nestlé did not say how much it was paying for its stake.
Nestlé is on a buying spree of late. Earlier this month it purchased vegan/vegetarian meal maker Sweet Earth, and in June it invested in online meals company Freshly.