Rococo, the Queen’s favorite chocolate brand, is changing hands

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Queen’s favorite chocolate brand Rococo changes hands in the blink of an eye with the group behind Illy coffee

Founder: Chantal Coady of Rococo

The Queen’s favorite chocolate brand, Rococo, changed hands in no time with the group behind Illy coffee, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The sale could breathe new life into the brand of the Prestat group, the confectionery branch of the Italian company Gruppo Illy.

Rococo was created by entrepreneur Chantal Coady in 1983 when she opened a shop on King’s Road in Chelsea, South West London.

London-based Prestat supplies the royal household itself and has secured two royal warrants, from the Queen and the Queen Mother. He bought three of Rococo’s five London stores, in Marylebone, Chelsea and Belgravia, and hired all 60 of its staff and management.

There are rumors that founder Coady, 63, who left the company after falling out with former investor and chief executive Rupert Morley, could be reinstated as creative director.

The company was sold for just £100,000 in a so-called ‘pre-pack’ deal on the same day it went into administration.

This is the second time that Rococo has gone bankrupt in three years. He collapsed after struggling to pay rent and repay a £1million coronavirus business interruption loan. The CBILS loan was taken out in May last year through a subsidiary of a Chelsea boutique lender called Cyan Finance, which is among Rococo’s biggest secured creditors.

The Mail on Sunday reported last month that Coady had taken legal action against Rococo banker NatWest and insolvency firm BDO over a long-running loan deal.

If she loses the claim, she and husband James Booth risk losing their south London home, which they have secured.

A source close to Coady said: “What happened to Chantal cost her dearly and changed her life irrevocably.

“But she is happy Illy is now in charge as there is now a good chance that Rococo can thrive again.”

New Managing Director Micaela Illy said: “We were very fortunate to be able to acquire the brand and build on the unique Rococo heritage.”

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