Vegan milk brand Oatly is facing a boycott from UK customers after it sold a £150million stake to a group lead by a private equity firm whose boss is a major Donald Trump donor.
The Swedish firm sold its stake to a group of investors – including Oprah Winfrey and Natalie Portman – lead by Blackstone.
Blackstone’s CEO Stephen Schwarzman is a long-time friend of Trump and is his largest campaign donor.
Schwarzman donated £2.8million ($3.7million) to Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, Bloomberg reports.
Oatly said – in a Tweet from it’s UK Twitter account – that it ‘understands our owners can have other investments that don’t align with us’ but insisted that ‘they all believe in and fully support us in our mission’.
Furious oat milk lovers have vowed to strike off Oatly for selling the $200million (£150million) share, claiming the company ‘sold their soul’.
Vegan milk brand Oatly is facing a boycott from UK customers after it sold a £150million stake to a group lead by a private equity firm whose boss Stephen Schwarzman (left) is a major Donald Trump donor
Blackstone’s CEO Stephen Schwarzman is a long-time friend of Trump and is his largest campaign donors
Gina Martin wrote: ‘I am so disappointed that Oatly is now part of the Blackstone Group. The CEO is Steve Schwarzman, a major Trump donor.’
Begum Rice wrote: ‘For crying out loud. Were you guys that short of offers for investment that you went with Blackstone Group?
Furious oat milk lovers have vowed to strike off Oatly (file image) for selling the $200million (£150million) share, claiming the company ‘sold their soul’
‘I’ll be voting with my purse I’m afraid. Recommended you to literally tens of people. That comes to an end too. Why sell your soul? Not everything is money!’
Oatly’s UK Twitter account replied to the tweet writing: ‘Hi there, we really appreciate all the amazing support you’ve given us in the past, and we’re sorry to see this come to an end.
‘We’re still Oatly, committed to promoting the plant-based movement.
‘We chose Blackstone because they believe in us and our plant-based mission and because their investment has steered a major stream of capital into sustainability.
‘We’re convinced that if we want to create real change for a more sustainable future, global capital needs to directed towards more sustainable investments.’
At the time of sale, Oatly’s CEO Toni Petersson said: ‘Leaders in asset management like Blackstone play an essential role in order to create real sustainable change.
‘It is my belief that capital has to turn green and do so for the right reasons.
‘Since we re-launched our brand in 2013, our focus has been to positively impact society by enabling people to change their lives with better, more environmentally responsible food choices, and in so doing, re-shape the food system to better contribute to the future of the planet.
Oatly’s UK Twitter account replied to the tweet writing: ‘Hi there, we really appreciate all the amazing support you’ve given us in the past, and we’re sorry to see this come to an end. ‘We’re still Oatly, committed to promoting the plant-based movement’
‘We chose to partner with Blackstone Growth because of their tremendous resources and unique reach.
‘Our new partners’ commitment to supporting us and furthering of our mission is a clear indication of where the world is heading, which is in a new, more sustainable direction.’
Jon Korngold, Global Head of Blackstone Growth, said: ‘Oatly is a premier global brand whose product is committed to healthy and sustainable living with significant runway for continued growth to meet rising consumer demand.
‘We are privileged to partner with Toni and the broader Oatly team to help the company extend its global leadership position in the years to come.’
Other Blackstone senior executives have made substantial contributions to Joe Biden’s campaign and related, supportive groups – totaling $1.3 million firm-wide.
Jon Gray, Blackstone’s President and COO, and Tony James, executive vice chairman, are significant and long-time supporters of the Democratic party and have each held multiple fundraisers for Joe Biden.
Steve Schwarzman himself has helped presidents of both parties on various initiatives over the years.
Mr Gray and his wife Mindy alone have given $255,600. Mr James has also given $102,800.
Blackstone have been approached for comment.