Brynwood Partners VI to acquire controlling stake in Back to Nature brand
Brynwood Partners VI has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling stake in the Back to Nature brand food business through a joint venture partnership with Kraft Foods.
Kraft Foods will continue to hold a substantial minority stake in the business and will have board representation in the joint venture that is to be formed.
Terms and conditions of the transaction, which is scheduled to close in October, will not be disclosed.
Founded in 1960, Back to Nature is one of the original natural food brands in the US. The joint venture will initially offer Back to Nature products in four categories: crackers, cookies, trail mixes and nuts, and granola, while management of the Back to Nature macaroni and cheese business will remain with Kraft Foods.
As part of the transaction, Brynwood VI will appoint Vincent Fantegrossi as president and chief executive of the new company. Fantegrossi previously served as president and chief executive of Richelieu Foods, a Brynwood Partners V investment that returned over six times total invested capital and generated a gross internal rate of return of over 40 per cent for the fund. Under Brynwood V's ownership, Richelieu Foods' sales grew from USD100m to over USD250m.
"We are excited to announce the Back to Nature transaction and are honoured that Kraft Foods selected Brynwood VI as its joint venture partner," says Henk Hartong III, senior managing partner of Brynwood VI. "We look forward to growing the Back to Nature brand and helping it to achieve even greater success in both the natural and mainstream channels through select new product and new category introductions, while staying true to the mission of giving people truly flavourful, wholesome foods made with simple ingredients. We are excited to work with Kraft in this unique joint venture between a private equity firm and a consumer products company formed to maximise the value of a smaller brand in its portfolio."
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