Bubble-Tea Chain Gong Cha Owner Mulling Sale in Strategic Review
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. private equity firm TA Associates is considering strategic options for its bubble-tea chain Gong Cha, including a potential sale or an initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The Boston-based buyout firm is working with Citigroup Inc. to identify the best course for Gong Cha, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The value of the business could be at least $600 million, and a sale or an IPO could happen as soon as next year, they said.
The owner could also opt for a stake sale to a strategic partner to help the chain expand to new markets such as mainland China, said one of the people.
Deliberations are at an early stage, and details such as timing could change, the people added. A representative for TA Associates didn’t respond to requests seeking comment and a Citigroup spokesman declined to comment.
Gong Cha, which refers to the act of offering tea as a tribute to the emperor in ancient China, was founded in Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan in 2006. Besides Taiwanese-style bubble tea, it also offers other specialty tea-based beverages.
The chain currently operates more than 1,300 stores globally, including in Australia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S., according to TA Associates’ website.
TA Associates acquired Gong Cha from Unison Capital Inc. in 2019 for an undisclosed amount.
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