UK: Subscription-based recipe box service SimplyCook sold to Nestlé

London-based advisory firm Oghma Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor to SimplyCook’s shareholders
Photo as seen on SimplyCook’s Instagram feed

Nestlé has agreed to acquire SimplyCook, a recipe kit company in the UK. The Swiss food giant announced the deal four months after the purchase of a majority stake in healthy recipe box company Mindful Chef. The move strengthen Nestlé’s food and direct-to-consumer offerings in the UK and Ireland.

Last year, Nestlé also took control of US meal delivery business Freshly in a £674 million deal.

SimplyCook’s founder Oli Ashness launched the business in 2014 to offer pre-portioned blends of authentic flavours combined with easy to follow recipes, designed to help consumers cook dishes from around the world. Since its launch, the business has helped households across the UK to cook more than 20 million recipes.

In 2015, Episode 1 Ventures, an investment company focused on early-stage software businesses, invested $1.1 million in the company. Four years later, SimplyCook raised raised £4,5 million in a Series A round. The round was led by Octopus Investment.

Stefano Agostini, chief executive for Nestlé UK & Ireland, said: “I am delighted to welcome the SimplyCook team to Nestlé. We share an ambition to make cooking more accessible by offering delicious, nutritious and convenient solutions. This is an ideal partnership for both parties as Nestlé continues to transform its portfolio and SimplyCook accelerates its growth.”

Agostini explained Nestlé has seen the growing demand for great tasting, nutritionally balanced food. “This move underlines our focus on investing in businesses with attractive growth prospects and acting on current trends.”

Oghma Partners acted as the exclusive financial adviser to the shareholders of SimplyCook on the sale of the business to Nestlé.

The deal is the latest in Oghma’s healthy portfolio of cross-border deals. European transactions have included advising Solina Group on the acquisition of UK-based Bowman Ingredients, and Givaudan on the divestment of both its pectin business to Herbstreith & Fox, and its processed and grated cheese business.

Oli Ashness, chief executive of SimplyCook said: “The more we got talking to Nestlé the more we realised that our ambitions and vision for the business aligned with what Nestlé sees as the right path for the SimplyCook business.

“Nestlé’s experience, operational expertise, and international know-how gives us the opportunity to expand further in the UK and beyond, making cooking more accessible for millions more consumers in far less time than we previously imagined. I look forward to seeing what the team can deliver going forward with some exciting doors now opened to us.”