Eataly set for global expansion after $300 million cash injection

(Source: Eataly / Facebook)

Gourmet Italian restaurant and grocery concept Eataly is set for major international expansion after an Italian investment company took a 52 per cent stake in the business for about $300 million. 

Investindustrial said its investment will allow Eataly to retire debt and maximise financial flexibility to fund Eataly’s global expansion plans. The family of the founder, Oscar Farinetti, and other shareholders will maintain the minority 48 per cent stake.

Founded in 2003, Eataly describes itself as “the largest Italian retail and dining experience in the world, transforming the way consumers enjoy Italian food, beverage and, culture through markets, counters, cafes, restaurants and educational offerings”. It has 44 stores in 15 countries, including Italy, the US, Canada, the UAE, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Great Britain, France, Sweden and Brazil and is planning more stores in some of the world’s major cities. This year it anticipates turning over around $450 million.

When the deal is settled, CEO Nicola Farinetti will move into the role of chairman and a new CEO will be announced shortly to lead the international expansion. 

In a statement announcing the deal, Eataly said its growth will be focused on foreign markets such as North America, where it already has eight flagship stores, and continued development in Europe and the Middle East, and in Asia, where the group has 16 franchised stores.

Investindustrial has recently invested more than $3.7 billion in the food sector, supporting the global development of historic and iconic Italian companies focused on private-label food products, ingredients, food-tech companies, and hospitality ventures, through the Dispensa Emilia restaurant chain.

Andrea C Bonomi, chairman of Investindustrial’s advisory board, described Eataly as “an example of Italian excellence in the world”. 

“Thanks to the vision and entrepreneurial ability of the Farinetti family, Eataly represents a unique and innovative player that has led the revolution of the concept of high-quality Italian food all over the world.”

He said the company would support Eataly by using its experience in helping companies grow globally with the highest ESG and sustainability principles and undertook to preserve Eataly’s “unique DNA” and maintain its profile of sustainability, supply chain control and integrity.

“This partnership will allow us to strengthen our unique format worldwide, promote innovative projects related to innovation and enhance our capabilities,” added Nicola Farinetti. “We are happy to take this new path together with such a reputable partner as Investindustrial, who shares Eataly’s values and vision, and has chosen to support us in achieving our goal to be the Italian ambassador for “Made in Italy” around the world.”

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