The parent company of Boost Juice is set to return to Australian hands after more than a decade of majority ownership by US investors, with Bain Capital striking a deal to sell its estimated 70 per cent stake in Retail Zoo to Sydney-based Adamantem Capital.
The deal is understood to give Retail Zoo - also the owner of Betty's Burgers, CIBO Espresso and Salsas Fresh Mex - a valuation of $350 million, although the amount could not be confirmed by the parties involved.
It has been almost a decade since Bain spent a reported $185 million on its stake in Retail Zoo in 2014, meaning the investment has underperformed the S&P 500 over the same time period but would represent a healthy profit nonetheless for the firm, whose other investments on this side of the world include Virgin Australia.
Bain had purchased its share from another northeastern US investor, The Riverside Company, which acquired the stake from Boost Juice and Retail Zoo founders Janine and Jeff Allis for $70 million in 2010.
Janine Allis will stay on as a shareholder and board director following completion of the latest sale, as Adamantem partners with the existing management team led by Retail Zoo CEO Nishad Alani who has held the role for almost six years.
"As consumers continue to look for convenient on-the-go options and relaxed casual dining experiences, our offering is well positioned to cater to the growing demand," says Alani.
"We have prospered under Bain Capital’s ownership and we are now delighted to welcome Adamantem Capital as Retail Zoo’s new investment partners. This is an exciting next chapter for Retail Zoo, our franchise partners and team.
"With Adamantem, we plan to invest in further expansion of our global footprint, leverage customers insights and analytics to drive our customer proposition and establish market leading ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) frameworks for the business."
Founded in 2000, Retail Zoo now has more than 750 stores in Australia and overseas, while in the last five years Betty's Burgers has become the country's fastest-growing casual dining burger chain, expanding from eight to 54 stores.
"Adamantem saw a unique opportunity to partner with Retail Zoo’s experienced management team with deep industry expertise," says Adamantem managing director Georgina Varley.
"Retail Zoo’s brands are well positioned through cycles as an ‘affordable indulgence’ offering. The power of both brands is also fuelled by its strong internal teams and industry-leading franchise relationships and business analytics.
"We look forward to supporting Retail Zoo’s management, franchisees and employees with further investment in the platform and expansion of the core brands across Australia and beyond."
Founded by Rob Koczkar and Anthony Kerwick, Adamantem manages $1.6 billion worth of assets in Australia and New Zealand, including horse feed and supplements manufacturer Hygain, processed meats producer Hellers, and Linen Services Australia - a rebrand of Spotless Laundries which it purchased from Downer EDI in 2021.
The deal for Retail Zoo is also higher than the $131 million deployed by Adamantem across two investments last year, in Brisbane-based NAK Hair and Sydney-headquartered CardiologyCo.
"We were attracted by Adamantem’s industry experience, responsible investing focus and partnership approach," says Janine Allis.
"Since starting more than 20 years ago, I am proud to see Boost Juice establish itself as an iconic Australian brand that resonates with a diverse group of customers.
"I look forward to continuing on the Board of Retail Zoo to share my retail and general business expertise to help guide Boost, Betty’s and the other brands forward in their next phase of growth."
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