Consultants help Unilever sell parts of Italian food brand Bertolli

06 January 2021 Consultancy.uk

Unilever has sold parts of its Bertolli brand to Enrico-Glasbest, continuing a long process of dismantling and divesting the unit.

Bertolli is an iconic Italian brand with a history that dates back to 1865, when Francesco and Caterina Bertolli started a delicacy store in Lucca, Tuscany. Over the past 150+ years, Bertolli has become a well-known provider of Italian cuisine products including olive oil, pasta, butter, pesto and more.

But under the wings of conglomerate Unilever, the relatively small Bertolli unit was not receiving the attention it deserved, according to Aleks Fiege and Jet van Koten, who both previously worked for the brand in the Netherlands. They approached Enrico-Glasbest, a Dutch food company specialised in Mediterranean food products generating revenues of €30 million, to take over and rejuvenate the brand.

Consultants help Unilever sell parts of Italian food brand Bertolli

Enrico-Glasbest, known for among others its Jean Batôn mayonnaise, Enrico spreads and olives, and its range of antipasti, was itself on the lookout for an acquisition target and saw a strategic fit with Bertolli, explained Robin Heetkamp, Managing Director of Enrico-Glasbest. “Bertolli fits in seamlessly with our strategy and ambitions.”

The deal sees investor-backed Enrico-Glasbest acquire the European pasta sauces, pesto and mayonnaise activities, and other trade mark rights under the Bertolli licence. The production process and staff supporting this will remain at Unilever. 

Fiege and Van Koten: “We see an enormous potential with Bertolli. With more attention for, and increased investments in quality, innovation and marketing, more value will be created. In Enrico-Glasbest we have found an ideal home to bring this wonderful brand to bloom again.”

For Unilever, the deal sees another part of its Bertolli division phased out. The Dutch-British giant had previously sold the olive oil activities to Spain’s Deoleo and the margarines activities to Upfield. Meanwhile, the activities in North America were sold to the Japanse Mizkan Group.

Dealmakers

Seller Unilever was advised by UK-based teams from PwC (led by Johnny Matthews and Nathaniel Cahoon) and law firm Baker McKenzie (led by Matthew Bennett, Tiarna Meka and David Scott).

Buyer Enrico-Glasbest meanwhile hired Squarefield as its buy side M&A and debt advisor. Squarefield’s team consisted of Matthijs Dekker, Gijs Beukers and Sanne Simons. Accuracy provided the financial due diligence (Martijn Vogelaar, Joris Timmers and Robert-Jan Drenth), while JSA-tax provided tax and fiscal expertise (Ronald van de Merwe and Ronald Braxhoofden). 

Legal consultancy to Enrico-Glasbest was delivered by JB Law (Jeroen Bleeker, William Bommel and Jos Ramhorst) and Myerson Solicitors (Carla Murray and Arman Hemani).