Singapore; Baar-Zug, Switzerland; 9 September 2019
Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, has committed a unitranche debt financing to Gong Cha Group ("Gong Cha" or "the Company"), a leading global provider of premium quality bubble and milk tea, on behalf of its clients. The transaction, which also includes a significant equity kicker, supports the strategic growth investment in Gong Cha by the private equity firm TA Associates.
Founded in 2006 in Southern Taiwan, Gong Cha offers consumers a variety of seasonal and specialty tea-based drinks. Its main offering is Taiwanese-style bubble tea, a sweet milk tea infused with tapioca pearls. Primarily utilizing a franchise model, Gong Cha reaches consumers through a variety of retail store formats, with more than 1,000 outlets in 17 countries across the globe, including Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico, Australia, Canada, the UK and the US.
Partners Group's investment in Gong Cha follows an earlier investment on behalf of its clients into the unitranche debt of AGS Health, a provider of clinical documentation and revenue-cycle management solutions to healthcare providers. Together with transactions in Australia, Partners Group has invested more than USD 600 million in unitranche investments over the last two years across the Asia-Pacific region.
Edward Tong, Senior Vice President, Head Private Debt Asia, Partners Group, comments: "Gong Cha is one of the world's most recognized bubble tea brands, albeit one with its roots firmly in Asia. It is well positioned to benefit from the steady growth of the tea market globally and we are excited to partner with TA Associates to support its further expansion."
Bill Berry, Partner, Head Private Debt, Partners Group, adds: "The private debt business at Partners Group has shown itself to be an innovative lender with a track record of breaking new ground. We have taken the unitranche product out of Australia and into Asia, and believe there is scope to provide these tailored financing solutions while maintaining a high degree of credit selectivity."