Standard Chartered Private Equity Ltd. will invest $46 million in Smoothies Korea Inc.
Through this, it hopes to acquire its franchisor, U.S. beverage chain Smoothie King.
SCPE make the along with a consortium including South Korea’s national pension fund.
Smoothies Korea will use funds to buy New Orleans-based Smoothie King.
Smoothies Korea currently has more than 100 company-owned and franchise stores in the country, while Smoothie King operates 529 stores in the U.S., according to the statement. Smoothies Korea is Smoothie King’s first overseas franchise.
Charles Huh, head of SCPE’s Korea unit, said Smoothie King plans to expand overseas, riding the wave of interest in Korean pop culture globally. It has plans to open stores in major cities in China, like Shanghai, and use Singapore as a testing ground before launching elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Smoothies Korea also has plans to open more Smoothie King outlets in the U.S. as cafes–rather than pure take-out outlets.
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