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Intelligentsia Coffee Looking for $100 Million Private Equity Buyout

The specialty coffee roaster is looking for private equity buyers.

Outside Intelligentsia Silver Lake, Los Angeles
Outside Intelligentsia Silver Lake, Los Angeles
Sam Felder/Flickr
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Intelligentsia Coffee, which essentially changed the coffee game in Los Angeles forever when it arrived back in Silver Lake in 2007, is looking for a private equity buyer to acquire the company. According to a Dow Jones wire note, the Chicago-based roaster, which also has coffee bars in New York, has hired Piper Jaffray & Co. to find a private equity buyer in the range of $100 million dollars. According to the wire, Intelligentsia is looking to kick off an auction process to garner the highest purchase price.

This comes about four years after Intelligentsia brought on co-CEO Robert Buono to help run and expand the company (update: Buono has since left the company). At the time, Buono did not make a significant fiduciary investment into the company, which left Intelligentsia to grow more organically versus the private equity money that's flowed into competitors Stumptown and Blue Bottle. Intelligentsia currently has three locations in the L.A. area, including Venice, Silver Lake, and Pasadena, with a fourth location slated for Highland Park alongside Silver Lake Wine's upcoming HPPO project.

While Intelligentsia helped launched the craft coffee boom in Los Angeles, it also brought over a bevy of talented professionals who went on to open their own roasteries and shops, including Handsome (which was eventually acquired by Blue Bottle), Tonx (also acquired by Blue Bottle), and G&B Coffee/Go Get Em Tiger.