Littlejohn in C$915m coffee exit

The mid-market firm has agreed to sell coffee company Van Houtte to Green Mountain Coffee. Littlejohn took Van Houtte private in 2007 for $C600m.

Littlejohn & Company has sold North American gourmet coffee company and franchise operator Van Houtte to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters for C$915 million (€690 million; $905 million).

Mid-market investor Littlejohn took the company private in 2007 for $C600 million, investing from its third fund. Montreal-headquartered Van Houtte’s Canadian brands include Brûleire St. Denis, Les Cafés Orient Express and K-Cup portion packs under the Van Houtte, Bigelow and Wolfgang Puck K-Cup brands. Van Houtte’s coffee is distributed via coffee services, retail stores, café bistros and online shopping.

Littlejohn closed its fourth fund on roughly C$1.3 billion, a record amount for the firm, last month. Fund IV will aim to invest approximately 80 percent of its capital in control investments, with the remainder in distressed opportunities with the “intent to gain control”, the firm said at the time.

A spokesperson for Littlejohn could not be reached at press time.

The firm invests in underperforming companies across a number of sectors, including healthcare, consumer products and auto parts. Littlejohn was founded in 1996 by Angus Littlejohn, formerly a co-founder of New York-based private equity fund Joseph Littlejohn & Levy.  The firm is currently managing capital commitments in excess of approximately C$2.3 billion.