Darrell Lea sold to Australian private equity firm

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 17th January 2018

The family that brought Darrell Lea confectionery back from the brink has sold the business to a private equity fund.

Christina and Tony Quinn acquired Darrell Lea in 2012 after the business went into voluntary administration. It is believed the pair has now sold Darrell Lea to Sydney-based Quadrant Private Equity for approximately AUD $200 million.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Quadrant has plans to now expand Darrell Lea both in Australia and overseas.

Darrell Lea is most well-known for its liquorice and rocky road confectionery. It does however sell a variety of confectionery products and partnered with Streets in 2016 to release a line of Darrell Lea inspired ice cream.

Darrell Lea had its start in 1927 when its founder, a man called Darrell Lea, opened a confectionery shop and milk bar in inner-city Sydney.

The business was placed into voluntary administration in 2012 when its directors were concerned it could no longer meet its ongoing financial obligations. At the time, half of Darrell Lea’s company-run stores were closed, resulting in a loss of nearly 200 jobs.

The business was however acquired by Christina and Tony Quinn who also owned VIP Petfoods at the time (another brand that they have since sold to Quadrant).

After acquiring Darrell Lea, the Quinn’s restructured the business, resulting in further job losses and only 83 employees left. The last company owned store was closed in September 2012 with the Quinn’s deciding to sell Darrell Lea confectionery through licenced retailers.

It is believed since acquiring Darrel Lea, the Quinn’s have invested AUD $30 million into turning the business around which has recently seen increased profits.


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