Boost Juice parent company in $200 million sale talks with Affinity Equity

Rumours are circulating the owners of successful Australian franchise Boost Juice are in talks with Asia Pacific group Affinity Equity, in a deal which could be worth $200 million.

Reports have emerged suggesting Retail Zoo, Boost Juice’s parent company, is in exclusive sale negotiations with the private equity firm.

It is unclear at this stage whether Boost Juice or Retail Zoo could be sold to Affinity Equity.

United States private equity group The Riverside Company purchased a 70% controlling stake in Boost Juice in May 2010 for $70 million, while Boost Juice founders Janine and Jeff Allis retained a 25% stake.

Retail Zoo also owns chains such as Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, Cibo Espresso and new business Hatch Chicken Shop. Other founders of Boost Juice include Geoff Harris and Marc and Daniel Besen.

The Australian first reported last year Riverside had begun looking at sale options for Retail Zoo.

In an interview with BRW following the reports, Janine Allis said no decision had been made: “Every time we have a board meeting we stop and go, ‘How can we improve Retail Zoo, what’s the best way, what does that look like?’”

“I can honestly say there’s nothing definite that has happened. But we’ve got that curious mind so we’ve always got our ears and eyes open for potentially great partners and an IPO is certainly not off the table, but there’s no firm decision to go to an IPO.”

Retail Zoo had an annual turnover of $223 million last financial year. The company had a busy year opening 36 new stores, acquiring coffee chain Cibo Espresso and launching chicken shop Hatch.

Boost Juice now has 300 stores.

SmartCompany contacted Retail Zoo, but the company provided no comment. Janine Allis was unable to comment prior to publication.

Affinity Equity was contacted, but no comment was available prior to publication.

Allis ranked 20th on last year’s BRW’s Rich Women list, with an estimated wealth of $60 million. If the sale of the business goes ahead, she’s likely to receive a healthy cash injection of around $50 million.

In May last year Allis spoke to SmartCompany about her secrets to Boost Juice’s success.

Allis says businesses need people who are leaders (efficient, focused, ambitious), thinkers (analytical, unassuming, well organised), doers (hard-working, patient, keen to get the job done without fuss) and emotional creative (social, energetic, high maintenance).

Her other tips included being selective about possible franchisees, having a customer-centric approach and constantly evaluating and re-developing business processes.

“I wanted Boost to be the business other businesses strived to be regarding customer service… With every single complaint it became my personal challenge to convert that customer into a raving fan,” she says.

“I did it, every time – by thinking as a consumer and keeping it simple.”

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