Boyu, StanChart pair up for China café deal

 The two firms have acquired an undisclosed stake in dessert café operator MCL to help the business grow its operations in China.    

Boyu Capital and Standard Chartered Private Equity have jointly acquired Chinese café operator Multi Concepts Link Restaurant Management taking an equal share of the business, according to a company statement.

The firms did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but SCPE confirmed each investor will get a board seat.

MCL currently has 210 cafés operating under the Honeymoon Dessert brand across China and Singapore, according to the statement. The firms plan to provide strategic consultancy and financial services to support the business’ growth.

The investment underpins SCPE’s commitment to the China market.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to establish a partnership with MCL as we have a long term commitment to some of the world’s most dynamic markets like China,” Zhu Wei, managing director of Standard Chartered Bank and global co-head of SCPE.

The firm also made a similar deal in Korea during 2012 when it acquired Smoothie King alongside the Korea Pension Service in a $46 million deal, according to an earlier statement from the firm.

“We are honoured to have Standard Chartered and Boyu as strategic partners, both of whom have strong track record in the consumer and retail sector, extensive and resourceful platforms and networks, and in-depth understanding of China’s business environment and global capital markets,” Raymond Chan, chief executive of MCL added.

Boyu declined to comment further on the transaction, but it is not the first time the firm has teamed with other GPs for a China deal.

Boyu was one of the lead investors in the $7.6 billion Alibaba Group deal in September 2012, financing a repurchase of shares alongside CITIC Capital and CDB Capital, the investment arm of China Development Bank, PEI reported earlier.

Hong Kong-based Boyu focuses on investing in Greater China from its $1 billion fund. The firm was launched in 2011 and as of June 2013 had plans to launch its second vehicle targeting $1.5 billion, according to PEI’s Research & Analytics division. The firm is said to have soft commitments already exceeding the target amount.

Boyu was founded by Alvin Jiang, the grandson of China’s former president Jiang Zemin, alongside former TPG managing director Mary Ma, former Providence Equity Partners executive Sean Tong and former president at Ping An Insurance Louis Cheung.