Carlyle bites into Irish chocolate

The investment in Lily O’Brien’s marks the first deal from the Carlyle Cardinal Ireland fund.

The Carlye Group has acquired Irish chocolate maker Lily O’Brien’s for an undisclosed sum.

The company supplies chocolate to high street retailers and airlines. The all equity transaction marks the first investment from the Carlyle Cardinal Ireland fund, a vehicle launched in 2012 as a joint venture with Dublin- and London-based investment management firm Cardinal Capital Group. The fund is targeting between €300 million and €350 million for investments in small and medium enterprises in Ireland, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Carlyle declined to comment on fundraising.

“Our investment will help Lily O’Brien’s take their chocolates and desserts to an even wider audience of consumers around the world,” Robert Easton, a managing director of Carlyle Cardinal Ireland, said in a statement.

The Carlyle Cardinal Ireland fund received a €125 million commitment from Ireland’s National Pension Reserve Fund in 2013.

Carlyle manages $185 billion of assets across 122 funds and 81 fund of funds. Cardinal Capital Group was founded in 2003 by Nigel McDermott and Nick Corcoran and manages hedge funds, private equity funds and real estate funds.