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Jollibee Foods to buy The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for $350M

The Smashburger owner is making its largest move into the U.S. to date with the acquisition of the coffee chain.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Jollibee Foods, the Philippines-based fast-food company, on Wednesday said it has a deal to buy Los Angeles-based coffee chain The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for $350 million.

Jollibee, which already owns the fast-casual burger chain Smashburger, will acquire the chain through a Singapore-based holding company.

The Coffee Bean was founded in 1963 and as of the end of last year operated 1,189 locations, 336 of which are company-owned, and 284 are in the U.S., according to the company. It generated $313 million in revenue last year and $23.7 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA.

It’s the biggest acquisition yet for Jollibee, an international fast-food company that has been making a number of deals of late. That includes the investment in Chicago-based Tortas Frontera in addition to its purchase of Smashburger.

In this instance, Jollibee’s eyes are in Asia, where there is a race among numerous companies for supremacy in the coffee and tea business. Jollibee already owns Highlands Coffee, a business mostly in Vietnam. Combined, the chains will make Jollibee an “important player in the large, fast-growing and profitable coffee business,” Jollibee Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong said in a statement.

“Our priority is to accelerate the growth of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand, particularly in Asia, by strengthening its brand development, marketing and franchise support system.”

The planned acquisition is the latest in a series of recent restaurant industry deals, including Cracker Barrel’s investment in Punch Bowl Social, Ares Management’s investment in Cooper’s Hawk and Starbucks’ acquisition of a stake in the company formerly known as eatsa.

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