Business

Marley Coffee buys US cart company to expand reach

Friday, December 13, 2013    

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MARLEY Coffee has acquired a US company that owns and sells mobile coffee carts worldwide for a reported US$140,000 ($14.7 million)

The gourmet coffee company said the purchase of Denver, Colorado-based BikeCaffe Franchising will allow it to expand its reach.

"BikeCaffe is our latest acquisition of a Denver-based business, and represents an exciting new channel for our local and global distribution strategy," Brent Toevs, Marley Coffee's CEO said in a press release.

"We are energiSed by the enthusiastic press coverage that BikeCaffe has earned to date as one of the hottest concepts for mobile cafes. We are similarly enthusiastic about the potential to grow BikeCaffe's base of bike owners, and we plan to dedicate resources to boost sales and marketing efforts in this area," Toevs added.

Marley Coffee acquired most of BikeCaffe's operational assets in the deal, which includes worldwide marks, copyrighted works, an online ordering system and a website, the company said. It noted that it also gets BikeCaffe's existing franchise agreements and a large database of potential franchisees throughout the US and around the world. Ralph Massetti, former owner of BikeCaffe, will remain as an ongoing consultant.

Included in the purchase are five Marley Coffee-branded BikeCaffe coffee carts, which the company said will be deployed strategically throughout the Denver area. According to the company, there are currently 21 BikeCaffe coffee carts in existence in the US, Canada, Jamaica and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), all of which will now be serviced by Marley Coffee. One franchisee reportedly is a seasoned developer of restaurants in the UAE who is contracted to deploy an additional 173 BikeCaffe coffee carts over the next 10 years.

"We believe BikeCaffe's mobile coffee carts are also ideal for many of our existing channels such as office coffee service and hospitality, but definitely for certain retailers for front-of-store or in-store kiosk usage, and we plan to explore some of the groundwork that Ralph Massetti has already begun," Toevs said.

"We believe there are possibilities to create an integrated strategy involving coffee sales both on store shelves and through BikeCaffe sales. With one industry report forecasting that the US food truck business will grow from US$615 million today to US$2.7 billion by 2017, we believe the mobile foods arena is a promising one," he noted.

According to the Denver Business Journal, Marley Coffee paid US$140,000 for BikeCaffe Franchising, including US$40,000 in cash and US$100,000 in restricted common stock, amounting to 250,000 shares.

Marley Coffee was founded by Rohan Marley, the son of reggae legend Bob Marley. It operates a Jamaica and US division under the chairmanship of the young Marley.

Rohan Marley described BikeCaffe as "a natural fit" with Marley Coffee.

"In addition to working only with sustainable coffee providers, BikeCaffe is a 100 per cent environmentally friendly operation with a recycling policy and an 'earth-friendly' record. BikeCaffe is truly a symbol of how businesses should operate in an era where environmental sustainability is critical," Marley said.

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