Founder: Rococo’s Chantal Coady
The Queen’s favourite chocolate brand Rococo has changed hands in a snap deal with the group behind Illy coffee, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The sale could breathe new life into the brand under Prestat Group, the confectionery arm of Italian firm Gruppo Illy.
Rococo was created by entrepreneur Chantal Coady in 1983 when she opened a shop on the King’s Road in Chelsea, South-West London.
London-based Prestat itself supplies the Royal household and has been granted two Royal Warrants, by the Queen and the Queen Mother. It has bought three of Rococo’s five London shops, in Marylebone, Chelsea and Belgravia, and taken on all 60 of its staff and management.
There are rumours that founder Coady, 63, who left the company after falling out with its previous investor and chief executive Rupert Morley, could be reinstated as creative director.
The company has been sold for just £100,000 in a so-called ‘pre-pack’ deal the same day it was put into administration.
It marks the second time Rococo has gone bust in three years. It collapsed after struggling to meet rents and repay a £1million Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. The CBILS loan was taken out in May last year through a subsidiary of a boutique Chelsea lender called Cyan Finance, which is among Rococo’s biggest secured creditors.
The Mail on Sunday reported last month that Coady had launched legal action against Rococo’s banker NatWest and insolvency firm BDO over a longstanding loan agreement.
If she loses the claim, she and husband James Booth face losing their South London home, which they put up as security.
A source close to Coady said: ‘What happened to Chantal has cost her dearly and changed her life irrevocably.
‘But she is glad that Illy is now in charge as there is now a strong chance Rococo can thrive again.’
New chief executive Micaela Illy said: ‘We were very fortunate to be able to acquire the brand and build on the unique Rococo legacy.’