Starbucks operator Amsric Limited – a subsidiary of multi-franchise group, Amsric Holdings Limited – has been sold to fellow Starbucks operator, Cobra Coffee Limited, a subsidiary of the Southern Co-op.

Amsric Limited has been a Starbucks operator since 2014, initially acquiring stores from the franchisor and subsequently opening additional stores to reach the current tally of 12 stores, plus two in development.

Amsric is the most significant Starbucks franchisee in the South-West of England, operating in locations such as Exeter, Plymouth, Portsmouth, and Southampton. The stores’ formats range from Drive-Thru and Drive-To, Retail Park and Shopping Centre, and on to High Street locations. The company employs around 140 and achieves sales approaching £10 million per annum.

The Board of Amsric’s owner, Amsric Holdings Limited, turned to our Corporate Finance team – experts in franchise hospitality deal management – to market the company, negotiate terms, and to manage and advise on the sale process. It also utilised the franchise sector expertise of Burnetts solicitors, who advised on the corporate and property legal aspects of the transaction.

Cobra Coffee (Cobra) has been a Starbucks franchisee since 2013 and was itself acquired by the Southern Co-op in 2018. Southern Co-op is the large regional independent Co-operative, which also operates retail stores and funeral services in the South of England. Cobra operates 35 stores, increasing to 47 following the deal, and will employ approaching 500 in the enlarged business.

Ragin Patel, Director of Amsric Holdings, the seller, commented: “We leave the Starbucks community with some sadness but are pleased to have found a great partner in Cobra – which we are confident will take the business forward and that, with the Co-op’s strong people-centric, ethical and community values, our dedicated and committed Amsric team will also benefit”.

Speaking of the deal process, Ragin added:

“We are delighted with the guidance and expertise delivered so professionally by PKF Smith Cooper, and by our legal advisers, Burnetts; both laboured tirelessly to achieve a great result and ran a professional, slick process that brought efficiency and good-humour to the process”.

Mark Smith, CEO of Southern Co-op commented: “I am delighted to welcome the new partners joining our team as we continue our growth with Starbucks across the South of England”. Gwyn Kennett, Cobra’s head of Operations added “this acquisition will enable us to bring the great Starbucks experience to even more customers and we are excited at the opportunity to build out in the South-West.”

Experts that advised on this deal

David Crump

Corporate Finance Director