No great Italian food options in your neighborhood? You may be in luck, as a brand synonymous with quality Italian food may be opening a location near you in the not too distant future.
Eataly, a high-end Italian grocery and restaurant chain hybrid has just been acquired by UK-based Investindustrial VII LP for nearly $200 million. The investment firm is taking a 52% majority stake in the chain and plans to expand the brand globally. New locations are expected to open across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In addition, Investindustrial will acquire all the minority shares in the chain’s locations in the United States.
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The first Eataly location opened its doors in Italy (where else?) back in 2007, and since then, it has seen great success and growth. Today, there are eight Eataly locations in North America and 44 in total across 15 countries.
Eataly is a hybrid grocery store restaurant for everyone when it comes to Italian flavors and culture. Walk into a typical Eataly location and you’ll find a huge selection of imported wines, cheeses, meats and seafood spread across several counters, an espresso bar, full-service restaurants, a bakery, and a cooking school.
The Eataly brand describes itself as “the world’s largest Italian retail and dining experience, transforming the way consumers enjoy Italian food, drink and culture through markets, counters, cafes, restaurants and educational offerings. “
The New York TimesEataly, meanwhile, was once described as a supermarket that “combines elements of a European open market, a Whole-Foods-style supermarket, a high-end food court and a New Age learning center.”
Eataly was originally founded by Oscar Farinetti in 2003. Oscar’s son Nicola served as CEO of the brand, but will move into the role of chairman once the acquisition is complete. A new CEO will be announced soon. Apart from the 52% majority stake being taken by Investindustrial, the remaining shares are owned by the current shareholders (including the Farinetti family).
“The agreement we signed launches a strategic partnership that drives Eataly into a new phase of its history, accelerating its international growth. This partnership will allow us to strengthen our unique format worldwide, to promote innovative projects related to innovation and increase our capabilities. We are happy to take this new path together with a reputable partner like Investindustrial, who shares Eataly’s values and vision, and has chosen to support us in achieving our goal as the Italian ambassador for ‘Made in Italy’ on around the world,” said Nicola Farinetti in a press release.
This large influx of funds will help Eataly in two ways: The brand will eliminate net financial debt while achieving greater financial flexibility for future expansion efforts.
According to the press release, Investindustrial and the remaining shareholders plan to support Eataly’s expansive growth by opening new locations and formats as well as a continued focus on sustainability.
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Investindustrial has an extensive track record of success in the food industry, having invested over $2 billion in brands such as La Doria, Treehouse Foods, and the Dispensa Emilia restaurant chain.
“We are delighted to be able to support Eataly, an example of Italian excellence worldwide, as a long-term partner. Thanks to the vision and entrepreneurial ability of the Farinetti family, Eataly represents a unique and innovative player that has revolutionizing the concept of high-quality Italian food worldwide. We look forward to supporting Eataly by leveraging our deep experience to help companies grow worldwide with the highest ESG and sustainability principles,” said Andrea C. Bonomi, advisory chairman of Investindustrial. board.