UK: Little Moons sells minority stake to L Catterton

PE giant to help mochi ice-cream business to boost global expansion 

Mochi ice-cream brand Little Moons sold a significant minority stake of its business to global private equity powerhouse L Catterton 12 years after being established in the UK. 

The deal will enable Little Moons to accelerate its global expansion into new markets and continue to grow rapidly. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the company’s popularity soared after a viral TikTok video marketed the snack brand to scores of viewers. 

Thanks to the viral video, the company experienced a 700% increase in sales at Tesco in January 2021.

Although financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, The Grocer reported the company was valued at £100m in February, as it faced a bidding war between a number of private equity firms. 

In the year to June 2021, the company reported retail sales of £36m and a staff count of 300, the FT reported last year.

Its products are available at all major supermarkets in the UK, as well as up to 20 other countries in Europe and the Middle East. 

L Catterton has previously invested in yoghurt manufacturer YoCrunch, hot sauce brand Cholula, premium crisp business Kettle Brand and O.N.E Coconut Water. It is the largest global PE firm specialising in global consumer goods with over $30 billion in equity. 

In November 2020, L Catterton sold Cholula to condiment leader McCormick & Co for $800 million.

Partner for the PE firm Jean-Philippe Barade said of the deal: “We see a tremendous opportunity to accelerate growth and expansion not only within the attractive and growing premium ice cream category, but also within the even larger premium snack category.”

Little Moons co-founder Howard Wong said: “The L Catterton team brings an extensive track record in the retail and food categories, and we look forward to benefiting from their expertise so we can continue doing what we do best – creating little lifts that spark positivity for more people around the world.” 

Boutique consultancy Food Strategy Associates carried out sell-side vendor due diligence services, while Spayne Lindsay & Co advised L Catterton on the purchase.