Scottish Private Equity vehicle Inverleith, which specialises in consumer brand investment, has taken a majority stake in British chocolate brand Montezuma’s.
Montezuma’s is a chocolate manufacturer and retailer which employs 150 people in Chichester and has an £8 million turnover. After 18 years building the brand, its co-founders, Helen and Simon Pattinson, decided the time was right to seek additional investment to drive the brand forwards, in the UK and overseas. Helen and Simon maintain a significant minority shareholding and will remain as board directors and brand ambassadors.
Montezuma’s has established itself as one of the largest leading independent British manufacturers of premium artisanal chocolate. Montezuma’s manufactures chocolate bars, truffles and gifting products, runs a subscription ‘Chocolate Club’ and has retail stores in the south-east of England and London. Founded with a chocolate shop in Brighton eighteen years ago, the Company has grown into a leading independent player in the premium UK chocolate market.
It combines this with a highly innovative and fun approach to chocolate manufacturing and is recognised for the quality of its chocolate and its award-winning flavour profiles. All Montezuma’s products are manufactured in the UK at its own facilities in Chichester by its highly skilled workforce.
The investment from Inverleith LLP will see the company expand the distribution of its chocolate products in the UK and overseas, continue its focus on chocolate innovation, with products such as its vegan, dairy free, “Like No Udder” chocolate bar as well as its ground-breaking 100% cocoa “Absolute Black” products.
Commenting on the Inverleith LLP investment, co-founder Helen Pattinson said “We are delighted to have secured Inverleith LLP as the majority investor into Montezuma’s. After eighteen years at the helm, we knew this was the right time to seek additional investment and the right partner. It was extremely important for us to find and work with an investor partner who would recognise and respect the company and brand we have created and love, our values, our innovative approach and the quality of our products.”
Simon Pattinson said: “We feel Inverleith fully understands the brand’s future, shares our continued passion for what we have developed and will ensure that we capture new opportunities for the brand both at home and overseas.”
Following the majority sale to Inverleith LLP, after a period of transition, Helen and Simon Pattinson will step back from the day-to-day running of the business, whilst retaining roles as Ambassadors and Directors for the Company.
Commenting on the acquisition, Inverleith LLP Managing Partner, Paul Skipworth, said “Montezuma’s is a fantastic addition to Inverleith’s expanding portfolio of consumer investments. Montezuma’s long-standing ethical position and track record of innovation position the brand perfectly to capture strong consumer desire for authentic, premium, artisanal brands. Montezuma’s is a quality British chocolate manufacturer with exciting product innovation in areas such as dark, 100% cocoa, flavoured and vegan and non-dairy chocolates. It is already a leading player in the high growth segments of the chocolate market with enormous opportunity for the brand both in the UK and internationally.”
Michael Atkinson, Inverleith LLP Operating & Brand Director, said “Through their passion and commitment over nearly two decades, Helen and Simon have built a flourishing British business from the ground up and established Montezuma’s as one of the most innovative and exciting chocolate manufacturers around. We are looking forward to working with Helen and Simon to bring the fun, joy, values and quality of Montezuma’s to a host of new consumers.”
Montezuma’s was advised on the transaction by Alantra, the global investment banking and asset management firm.
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