La Boulange Exiting to a Large Strategic Buyer (A)

By Robert Siegel, Austin Kiessig
2013 | Case No. E478A | Length 20 pgs.

The La Boulange: Exiting to a Large Strategic Buyer case follows the evolution of the La Boulange bakery and café chain and its eventual buyout by Starbucks Corporation. First, the case relates the founding story of La Boulange by its CEO Pascal Rigo. Then, the case discusses the controlling investment made by Sebastien Lepinard and the subsequent changes in La Boulange’s strategy and governance structure. The case then discusses a buyout offer for the company and turmoil amongst leadership. Finally, the case delves into the buyout offer from Starbucks.

Learning Objective

This case is taught in a course called Formation of New Ventures and is intended to help students evaluate the pros and cons of a buyout from a strategic acquirer. Students are asked to first critically examine the working dynamic and governance structure between Rigo, Lepinard, and other leaders in the company. Then they are asked to evaluate the attractiveness of a buyout offer at a time when the company is fruitfully growing. Students are ultimately asked to spend considerable time weighing the pros and cons of doing a deal with Starbucks as a large strategic buyer.

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