The popular New Zealand roaster and cafe brand Mojo Coffee Roasters is being acquired by Cooks Global Foods, an Aukland-based retail cafe development company with sights on the United States market for expansion of the Mojo brand.
If finalized, the acquisition deal will be worth approximately USD$12.6 million, including $3.5 million in purchased debt, approximately $1.3 million in distribution to Mojo shareholders and a purchase price of $7.8 million.
Mojo launched in Wellington 15 years ago, and has since grown to include 36 retail cafes in Wellington and Aukland, plus one cafe that opened in The Loop in Downtown Chicago last year. Though numerous U.S. coffee brands bear the Mojo name — roaster/retailer Mojo Coffee Roasters of New Orleans prominent among them — Cooks Global Foods has identified the U.S. as an expansion target.
“Mojo is a well-established, popular, profitable business with a highly-successful brand,” Cooks Executive Chairman Keith Jackson said in an announcement of the acquisition, expected to be completed on Oct. 31. “It has the potential to boost our international growth ambitions, particularly in the U.S., where it has already established a strong presence in Chicago with increasing customer awareness and American’s developing taste for good coffee.”
In 2013, Cooks acquired the intellectual property and master franchising rights to the Canadian coffee roasting and retail brand Esquires Coffee, which now comprises more than 130 retail locations in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Middle East, China and Australasia. Unlike Esquires, which has grown through franchising, Mojo has created a unique interior design for each of its cafes to this point, boasting more expensive cafe equipment and the kinds of drinks and food menus that tend to be associated with coffee’s “Third Wave” movement.
“We think Cooks is going to be really good for us in helping expand Mojo,” said Mojo Co-Founder Steve Gianoutsos, who will join Cooks’ senior management team along with multiple other Mojo executives, according to the companies. “Their experience in international markets and strategy to look globally is going to get our international expansion really firing; it’s something we’ve been pushing for some time. I’ve been working in the flagship Chicago store and we’re going to look to push out into the U.S. and beyond.”
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