Clearwater’s Americano to go


Clearwater Corporate Finance has advised IKON Office Solutions plc on the sale of Kafevend to its management and Livingbridge.

IKON is a leading supplier of office equipment and a subsidiary of IKON Office Solutions Inc., a US Based NYSE listed corporate. Kafevend was IKON’s only vending operation and was viewed as a non-core operation.

Kafevend, based in Crawley, is a leading supplier of vending services to the UK mid SME market. Kafevend prides itself on a comprehensive follow up service including the supply of drinks and servicing. It has broad UK coverage from offices in Crawley, Enfield, Leeds and Bristol.

It targets SMEs which are often new users of vending solutions. Most of the machines are hot and cold drinks vending machines, but Kafevend also supplies snack, can and bottle vending machines plus Tana branded plumbed in filtered water dispensers.

The equity funding for the acquisition was provided by Livingbridge in return for a majority equity stake. Debt funding for the acquisition was provided by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Kafevend currently has 71 employees and its head office will remain in Crawley. Over 4,000 businesses rely on their daily beverages from vending machines supplied and serviced by Kafevend.

David Mills of IKON commented: “Kafevend has always performed well but it had become a non-core business for IKON. Clearwater helped us achieve our strategic objective at a good price.”

Marc Gillespie, partner with Clearwater who led the deal with director Nick Jones added: “This was a good result all round. IKON was happy with the price and management now have the opportunity to grow the business faster with the support of Livingbridge. Kafevend is a well run business in a consolidating market that will undoubtedly benefit from the increased investment for growth.”

The MBO was led by Kafevend CEO John Collins. He commented: “Whilst Kafevend has experienced good growth in recent years as a subsidiary of IKON, I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead an MBO. New vending products are now much better than many consumers expect and we are seeing strong take up from companies that historically have not used vending machines. Even small companies can benefit from the convenience of high quality vended drinks to replace the hassle of using kettles. The funding package from Livingbridge will allow us to accelerate our future growth strategy.”