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Private equity

Orchestra PE buys Korean pizza brand Banolim

The PE firm sets up fourth fund for the investment, reaching a total of 250 billion won AUM

Nov 10, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

IU, K-pop star and brand model of Banolim Pizza
IU, K-pop star and brand model of Banolim Pizza

Orchestra Private Equity set up Orchestra Private Equity IV (OPE IV) to invest $32 million in Korea’s pizza chain operator Banolim Food Co. and its pizza brand. The investors of OPE IV are mainly Korean limited partners, and a partnership will be created with Banolim CEO Sungwon Yoon to maximize investment returns through Korean and overseas expansion, the South Korean PE firm said.

Through the investment in Banolim, Orchestra set up its fourth fund to operate assets under management of about 250 billion won ($211.7 million). Deloitte Anjin LLC served as financial and tax advisor, LEK Consulting LLP as management consultants, and LAB Partners LLC as legal counsel on the transaction. 

The pizza brand makes key ingredients for pizza such as dough and garlic sauce at its own factories in Korea’s third-largest city Daegu, located in the southeastern region of the country. 

Banolim Pizza is investing in research and development as well as marketing to suit the tastes of the younger generation, the major customers of the pizza brand. Last year, Banolim launched an in-house mobile app for orders and deliveries and focused on increasing brand awareness through collaboration via various social media platforms this year. It recently selected K-Pop star IU as its brand model, exposing the pizza brand to a wider range of age groups.

Founded in 2013, Banolim operates over 300 franchise stores across Korea and is ranked as the fourth-largest pizza brand in Korea. The total sales of the franchise have been growing at more than 25% annually, and the franchise revenue is expected to hit 120 billion won this year.

“Banolim Pizza started in Daegu but in just a few years is rapidly expanding across the country. Together with Orchestra, we will successfully grow Banolim Pizza to become a leading pizza brand not just in Korea but also in Asia,” said David Kim, manager at Orchestra PE.

Founded in 2014, Orchestra PE targets buyout investments in Japanese and Korean smaller-end middle-market companies to build them into global champions. Before investing in Banolim, it invested $69 million in Tokyo-based golf equipment manufacturer Majesty Golf, $53 million in Seoul-headquartered visual effect technology firm Vision Holdings and $66 million in Seoul-headquartered soft-tip darts machine manufacturer Phoenixdarts. The private equity firm operates its main teams in Tokyo and Seoul and has a fund management office in Singapore. 

By Jihyun Kim

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