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Green Mountain to acquire Canadian coffee company Van Houtte

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR), Waterbury, Vt., announced it will acquire all outstanding shares of LJVH Holdings Inc., known as Van Houtte, for $890 million. Van Houtte is headquartered in Montreal and is a leading gourmet coffee brand in Canada and a licensee for GMCR’s Keurig Single-Cup Brewing Systems.

“We have had a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with Van Houtte since 2001 when they first became a Keurig licensee and we’re confident that the company and its well-known Canadian brands including Van Houtte, Brulerie St. Denis, Les Cafes Orient Express Coffee and Brulerie Mont Royal are great additions to GMCR and our family of specialty coffee brands,” said Lawrence J. Blanford, president and chief executive officer of GMCR, in a statement. “We believe that Van Houtte, in combination with our Green Mountain, Tully’s, Timothy’s and Diedrich’s brands, will contribute to our future success across Canada and throughout North America.”

Van Houtte roasts and markets gourmet coffee for home and office consumption and distributes coffee through direct-to-store delivery and coffee service networks in Canada and the United States. The company also produces specialty coffee, tea and other beverages in a variety of packaged forms including K-Cup portion packs for the Keurig System sold under the Van Houtte, Bigelow and Wolfgang Puck K-Cup brands. As of Aug. 21, Van Houtte’s 12-month sales were $433 million, based on the U.S.-Canadian dollar exchange rate from Sept. 13.

“This acquisition will enhance GMCR’s Canadian presence and is expected to strengthen our North American geographic expansion with a well-known Canadian brand platform that includes roasting, manufacturing and distribution capabilities,” Blanford said. “We have great admiration for Van Houtte’s leadership team and are pleased that its current president and chief executive officer, Gerard Geoffrion, has agreed to continue to lead the Van Houtte business in Canada following the close of the acquisition.”
GMCR is purchasing the shares from an affiliate of Littlejohn & Co. LLC, Greenwich, Conn. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including certain regulatory approvals, and is expected to close by the end of 2010.

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