Pukka Herbs

A pukka trade sale of UK herbal tea brand to Unilever

The rapid growth and popularity of Pukka Herbs' products meant there was an opportunity to go global. Its owners came to us to help find a new owner to take the brand to the next level.

Image credit: Pukka Herbs



Undisclosed trade sale of Pukka Herbs to Unilever


Chance of Unilver maintaining Pukka’s ethical & sustainable philosophy


Pukka Herbs started life in the year 2001 as a simple idea: connect people with the incredible power of plants. This manifested itself in a highly successful range of herbal teas and supplements, growing to a £26m turnover with sales in 45 countries. It became the clear number two fruit and herbal tea brand in the UK with sales in 45 other countries, but it was time to become truly global.

Its owners Tim and Sebastian wanted to explore options for taking the business to the next level. Mapping their ambitions for the brand made it clear that a finding trade partner with global distribution and aligned ethical standards was required.


Business Planning

Despite Pukka’s phenomenal success, the business had never previously undertaken a formal mid-range (5 year) business planning exercise. As the business grew it was becoming apparent that this was essential for operational reasons but also supporting the upcoming investment process. We helped the executive team, through a series of workshops, formulate and articulate the plan which became both the foundation for the Information Memorandum (IM) needed for the fundraising, but also the internal operational forecast.


Pukka was not short of interest from potential funders. Inward interest from the Private Equity community was strong and a number of trade players were also beginning to make approaches. Pukka’s impact on a sector had been noticed by investors and was very much on trend. Our role was to help Tim and Sebastian filter and understand this interest and select the best way forward. In the meantime, we secured additional debt funding to fuel the growth as the options were assessed.

Trade Sale

Through the process of fundraising it became clear that Pukka’s mission could be greatly accelerated not only by the addition of funding, but of infrastructure and expertise. Unilever is a market leader in sustainability and, whilst having a large legacy portfolio to bring up to its sustainability goals, shares the core values of Pukka. We helped Tim and Sebastian assess the benefits of a sale to Unilever over other investment options and when the decision was made, went on to drive the negotiation and sale process from start to finish.

Pukka Herbs founders Sebastian Pole (left) & Tim Westwell (Image credit: Pukka Herbs)


Through our advisory, Pukka Herbs was successfully acquired by Unilever. Unilever was chosen as the right new owner due to its Sustainable Living Plan and its clear intention to adhere to the standards it set itself. In Unilever, Tim and Sebastian saw an opportunity to partner with a business to make a real difference on a global scale.

Core to Tim and Sebastian’s philosophy is sustainable and ethical and they will continue to champion this within Unilever. Pukka itself is a B Corp and participates in 1% for the Plant and Fair for Life as well as insisting that 100% of the herbs in it products are organic – Unilever have no intention of changing this.


“We believe in business being a force for good in society, so from the beginning it was very important to us to find an advisor who would keep our values at the top of the agenda. Shaw & Co have been excellent in helping us to find a partner and deliver a deal that will maintain our ethical and environmental promises.

At every step of the journey, through the build up to our sale, and in the subsequent acquisition by Unilever, Shaw & Co worked with us to protect and champion Pukka’s values and mission. They have helped us find the right home in Unilever, and to create an exciting future for Pukka Herbs."

For purpose-led businesses in the South West seeking to grow I recommend Shaw & Co."
Tim Westwell
Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, Pukka Herbs
Lead Advisor:
Jim Shaw
Founder & CEO
Jim Shaw
's bio
Support Advisor:
Myles Hamilton
Myles Hamilton
's bio
Support Advisor:
's bio
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