Montezuma founders sell majority stake in multimillion-pound deal

A couple has sold a majority stake in their near-two decade old premium chocolate business in a multimillion-pound deal.

Helen and Simon Pattinson have sold the stake to Scottish private equity firm Inverleith and will step back from the day-to-day running of the company.

They opened their first Montezuma premium chocolate store in Brighton 18 years ago.

The company has since grown and currently operates from five stores across the south-east of England and London, employing 130 people.

Montezuma, which generates annual turnover of £8 million, makes chocolate bars, truffles and gifts as well as running a subscription service.

Financial details about the deal were not disclosed.

The investment from Scottish private equity company Inverleith will see Montezuma expand its distribution operations in the UK and abroad, and invest in products such as its vegan “Like No Udder” chocolate bar.

Mrs Pattinson said: “After 18 years at the helm, we knew this was the right time to seek additional investment and the right partner.

“It was extremely important for us to find and work with an investor partner who would recognise and respect the company and brand we have created and love, our values, our innovative approach and the quality of our products.”

While Mr and Mrs Pattinson will no longer be running Montezuma, they will remain as ambassadors and directors of the company.

The deal marks the latest for Inverleith, after it snapped up trendy health food chain Planet Organic last month in a deal thought to be worth around £15 million.

Inverleith specialises in investing in consumer brand companies within the health and wellbeing, lifestyle and heritage sectors.