Boost Juice Founder Janine Allis Sells 70% Stake

Monday, May 03, 2010

The founders of juice bar chain Boost Juice, Janine and Jeff Allis, have sold a 70% stake in the company for between $65-70 million to a US private equity firm.

The firm, The Riverside Company, only opened its first office in Australia in late April but appears to have wasted little time in picking up one of Australia's biggest food franchises.

Boost Juice has 180 outlets in Australia and 50 overseas (mainly in Britain, Singapore and South Africa) and is expected to post revenue of more than $130 million this financial year, with a profit of more than $10 million.

Allis told SmartCompany this morning that she and her husband Jeff started talking to Riverside about six months ago, after examining the company's growth strategy and considering a capital raising to fund growth.

"We seriously considered listing at one point and we are always in the market in terms of how are we growing, what, where and when," she says.

"We were talking after 10 years that we were looking to take a little bit off the table � not a lot, just a bit." The investment by Riverside will also allow Boost to buy the 32% of franchise chain Salsa's Fresh Mex Grill that it does not already own. Boost bought into the chain two years ago and it currently has 20 stores.

The Boost Investment Group owns 20 Boost stores in Australia and 80% of the Salsa chain's stores. The remainder are franchised.

"One of strategies is to continue to acquire smaller businesses, particularly in retail, and actually grow them, as we've done with Boost and with Salsa," Allis says.

She is also keen to look at further overseas expansion and says Riverside, which has offices around the world, will be able to help with this.

"That obviously was a huge advantage for us, just having that international connection." Under the terms of the sale, Janine and Jeff Allis will see their 45% stake in Boost fall to 25%, while the company's other shareholders � former Flight Centre executive Geoff Harris, Rod Young and Marc and Daniel Besen � will hold the rest of the company.

Jeff Allis will stay on as chief executive of Boost Investment Group while Janine will remain in her current role of advising and working with the company's executive team.

She expects little will change at a practical level, despite the new shareholders.

"Monday came as and it was business as usual."

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