Black Sheep buys Taylor St in coffee shop merger

Black Sheep Coffee has bought up rival chain Taylor St in a move which will significantly expand the brand’s London footprint, PA can reveal.

As part of the deal the hip coffee chain, which already has 22 cafes and kiosks in the capital, has picked up all of Taylor St’s UK locations except its South Quay production unit, adding another eight sites to its growing empire.

It comes just a month after the business secured £13 million in funding to expand in the US, Europe, UAE and Asia.

Founded in 2013 by co-chief executives Gabriel Shohet and Eirik Holth, Black Sheep was valued at over £100 million prior to the latest acquisition.

Mr Shohet and Mr Holth told PA: “We are pleased with the acquisition and are excited to welcome all Taylor St staff as part of the Black Sheep family that every day is growing bigger and stronger.

“The Tolley siblings have built an incredible company over the years and we look forward to working closely together through this exciting time.”

It bolsters Black Sheep’s presence in London and brings the brand’s total number of sites to 35, including two in Manchester and one in the Philippines.

All Taylor St staff will be transferred to Black Sheep, bringing the enlarged company’s total number of employees to 350.

Taylor St was founded in 2006 by Andrew, Nick and Laura Tolley, the same team who launched the Harris & Hoole coffee chain with Tesco.

The siblings left Harris & Hoole in 2015 to focus on Taylor St, later selling back their stake to Tesco. The supermarket then sold the chain to Caffe Nero in 2016 for an undisclosed sum.

Alongside its shops, Taylor St has built up a sizeable wholesale business, opening a roastery in 2015.

Last year the company became an exclusive global partner for French catering giant Sodexo, providing coffee and barista training to the firm as well as establishing a new specialty coffee brand called Chapter & Verse.

Nick Tolley said “Taylor St takes great pride in the quality of our cafe experience. With Black Sheep we feel that our shops are in the best hands possible, and we’re excited to be working with them to continue to deliver the kind of cafe experience our customers have long come to expect.”