Illy Presses Ahead With Plans To Expand After Peninsula Bid
The Illy family, which owns illycaffè coffee and a portfolio of food ventures dubbed Polo del Gusto, is pressing ahead with plans to find partners for the two businesses after one family member decided to sell his stake to an outsider, sources said.
The Italian food dynasty is at a crossroads after one of the founder's grandsons reached a deal to sell his 23% stake in the Illy Group family holding company to Peninsula, a London-based private equity firm.
Illy Group is owned by the late founder Francesco Illy's four grandchildren Andrea, Anna, Francesco, Riccardo and their mother Anna Rossi.
The family is now considering whether to exercise its pre-emption rights and buy out Francesco's stake or let a non-family investor inside the holding company for the first time since the group was founded in 1933.
A decision is expected in coming weeks but in the meantime efforts to develop both illycaffè and the non-coffee business have not stopped, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.
"The initial plan of letting a new investor inside illycaffè is on track," one of the sources said.
The second source said that a parallel plan to find a partner for the development of Polo del Gusto had also been confirmed, adding the selection of an ally would likely take place in late 2020 or at the beginning of next year.
Illy Group declined to comment on the issue.
Illycaffè, which is headed by Andrea Illy, is working with Goldman Sachs to select an investor to help the roaster expand its retail network in the United States.
Polo del Gusto, which has Riccardo at the helm, plans to find a partner to grow the non-coffee business, which includes tea brand Dammann Freres, chocolate business Domori and wine venture Mastrojanni.