Blue Bottle Coffee to sell majority stake to Nestle

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The Bay Area’s Blue Bottle Coffee is selling a majority stake to Swiss food giant Nestle, making it the latest Bay Area food and drink company to be sold to a large corporation.

Nestle is reportedly paying “up to $500 million” for a 68 percent stake in Blue Bottle.

Founder James Freeman, whose first cafe was a garage in a Hayes Valley alley, will maintain his role as chief product officer.

Blue Bottle, it’ll continue to be run as a standalone company operating out of its Oakland headquarters.

Breaking down the deal: Blue Bottle officials are saying the Nestle partnership helps the company grow its technologies, open new cafes and roasteries, both nationally and internationally, and expand its product line, among other things.

The beloved third-wave brand already has 35 cafes in the Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, and plans to grow by 70 percent this year, with new outposts in Miami, Boston and Washington, DC. In 2015, Blue Bottle and Tartine Bakery announced a merger, though several months later, they said that deal fell through and the two decided to remain separate.

This story will be updated throughout the day.

Justin Phillips is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jphillips@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @JustMrPhillips

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