Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Strikes Licensing Deal With Starbucks

In The News
March 14, 2011

Ropes & Gray represented Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in negotiating a licensing agreement allowing Starbucks to produce a line of single-serve coffee containers for use in Green Mountain’s Keurig machines.

The single-serve K-Cup containers of Starbucks coffee will be available for sale in North America beginning this fall. Starbucks will also begin selling Green Mountain’s Keurig brewers in its coffee shops in early 2012.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Starbucks will be the exclusive licensed super-premium brand for the Keurig brewer over the life of the agreement. 

Led by Boston-based corporate partner Jane Goldstein, the Ropes & Gray team advising Green Mountain in the Starbucks deal also included IP transactions partner Ed Black (Boston); IP litigation partner Peter Brody (Washington, D.C.); securities and public companies associate Cynthia McMakin (Boston); and corporate general associate Rachel Phillips (Boston).

The Starbucks agreement is the latest in a string of recent deals Ropes & Gray has acted on for the Vermont-based Green Mountain. Other recent transactions handled by Ropes & Gray include the coffee company's:

  • acquisition of Canadian gourmet coffee roaster Van Houtte from its private equity owner Littlejohn for  CDN$905 million in cash.
  • sale of $250 million of newly issued shares of common stock to Lavazza, one of the world's largest coffee manufacturers and Italy's top-selling espresso brand, in 2010.
  • $290 million acquisition of Diedrich Coffee, Inc. in 2010.
  • $165 million acquisition of Timothy's Coffees of the World, Inc. in 2009.
  • multimillion dollar acquisition of Tully’s Coffee Corporation in 2009.
  • offering of 4 million shares of common stock in 2009.