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Cooks’ growth through acquisition

23 April 2014

Cooks’ growth through acquisition

Canadian purchase seals global IP objective

To paraphrase a 1980s advertisement, “they liked it so much they bought the company” [1]. No, not an American shaver company, but a Canadian coffee business that was “their” previous owner.

The “they” in this story are New Zealand brothers Stuart and Lewis Deeks who started an Esquires coffee franchise here in 2002, now they have bought their owner.

From a single store, the Deeks brothers built Esquires in to a nationwide chain of 49 coffee houses before going global. Then they sold off the New Zealand and Australian stores before backing the global Esquires business in to listed Cooks Global Foods.

And this week the story goes full circle with Cooks announcing it has completed the formalities to acquire the Esquires Canadian intellectual property rights, the original Esquires franchisor founded in 1993.

Cooks now licenses back to Esquires Canada the right to use the IP to nine Esquires Coffee Houses stores in British Columbia and also for the purpose of a Master Franchise Agreement for Alberta.

The existing outlets will at least in the short term continue to report to the original owners under a licence agreement; whilst Cooks plans to focus on aggressive growth nationwide which will include the construction of a number of new corporate flagships this year and expansion into other Canadian provinces.

Cooks chairman Keith Jackson says the deal means Cooks who already owned the global IP for Esquires now have established businesses in the UK and Ireland, throughout the Middle East and China as well as in Canada. Currently only New Zealand and Australia are excluded.

“Our strategic objective for Cooks in entering this arrangement is to expand into Canada on our own account building a presence across that market, including in new provinces and territories.

“Because Esquires was founded in Canada, we have excellent brand recognition already in that market so we are keen to capitalise on that by growing the numbers of franchisees,” Jackson says.

Cooks executive director Stuart Deeks says it is extremely pleasing” to clinch the Canadian purchase.

“It’s not only a symbolic step for Cooks; it’s also a milestone as we have successfully concluded our plan to tidy up the international IP outside of Australasia,” he says.

“Internationally we have concluded the planned acquisitions of Esquires businesses outside of Australasia and we can now get on with growing the business as a world class franchisor which is exactly what we intend to do” he smiles.

Following the opening this month of four franchisee-owned stores in the Middle East, The Cooks Esquires outlets will number 81 outside of Australasia. There are currently plans to announce two very significant new agreements during the coming few months as well as significant organic growth from within the system.

According to the Coffee Association of Canada the food service sector coffee market is estimated at around C$4 billion. It says there are between four and five thousand independent cafes and coffee shop owners and several thousand franchise owner-operators.

[1] The phrase is attributable to an American advertisement for Remington shavers that quoted business owner Victor Kiam saying “I liked the shaver so much I bought the company”, one of the more memorable advertising slogans of the 1980s.

About Cooks Global Foods
Cooks Global Foods operates in world markets and is listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange under the code CGF. It owns the intellectual property and master franchising rights to Esquires Coffee Houses worldwide excluding New Zealand and Australia. Esquires currently operates 81 coffee houses in Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Middle East and China. The supply division of CGF supplies both Esquires stores and other third party customers. Related businesses within the group include New Zealand-based subsidiaries Progressive Processors Ltd and Scarborough Fair.

ENDS

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