Bluebox advises on the sale of Artisan du Chocolat

Bluebox is delighted to announce another transaction in 2020 with the sale of Artisan du Chocolat (“Artisan”), one of the UK’s leading luxury chocolatiers, to Mohamed Elsarky, former President and CEO of Godiva backed by a leading hedge fund. Pricing and other deal terms have not been disclosed.

Established in 1999 by Anne Weyns in Borough Market, Artisan is widely recognised for its quality and craft, with Restaurateur Gordon Ramsay once dubbing it “the Bentley of chocolate” and Michel Roux Jr of Le Gavroche describing Artisan as “the leading light in the world of modern chocolate”. Anne Weyns will continue to lead the business alongside Mohamed Elsarky and retains an equity stake in the business.

From humble beginnings, Artisan has retail stores in Chelsea, London, Selfridges and Borough Market and a growing online presence which enables worldwide shipping. The company also provides private-label chocolates to the leading fine food retailers in the UK. Artisan’s chocolates are made in its own production atelier in Ashford, Kent, which has been operational and busy throughout COVID-19. The business employs nearly 80 staff and uses fine flavour cocoa beans sourced sustainably from farmers in South America.

Elsarky, who becomes Chairman with immediate effect, brings a wealth of global FMCG and private equity experience and was responsible for the turn-around and expansion of Godiva as the leading prestige retailer of Belgian chocolates across international markets. For almost a decade under his leadership, Godiva expanded its presence across channels and geographies, reaching almost 800 stores in more than 35 countries. Going forward, Mohamed will support Artisan to increase production and plans to develop the online platform.

Anne Weyns, Chief Chocolate Adventurer, commented:

“For me it was critical to find a business partner with a relevant track record that not only provided additional financial support, but more importantly, understood the DNA of Artisan. Bluebox were instrumental in identifying a partner that met the criteria we were looking for and supported me throughout the process.  Their attention to detail was second to none and I am extremely grateful for their support.”

Jonathan Rich, who led the transaction for Bluebox, said:

“We are delighted that a deal has been concluded with Mohamed Elsarky, former CEO of Godiva, and his financial backers who bring a wealth of commercial and strategic experience to the ongoing team. Together with Anne’s creative flair and commitment to innovation, the Artisan Du Chocolat brand is poised to become a global presence in the luxury chocolate market and we wish them continued success.”

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