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Warburg Pincus and Tilia Holdings invest in Food Safety Net Services

Warburg Pincus has invested in Food Safety Net Services (FSNS), a provider of laboratory testing services for customers in the food & beverage end-markets. 

The company serves a broad range of product categories within the broader food & beverage sector (eg, meat, dairy, produce, dietary supplements, pet food, nutraceuticals, restaurant, ready-to-eat). Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

As part of the investment, FSNS will merge with Certified Group, a leading North American platform provider of testing and regulatory consulting services. Certified Group provides mission critical and time sensitive testing and regulatory consulting services to the food & beverage, supplements & botanicals, cosmetics & personal care, nicotine & cannabis, and other regulated end markets. Warburg Pincus and Tilia Holdings (Tilia), a Chicago-based private investment firm focused exclusively on the food and nutrition supply chain, first invested in Certified Group in 2018. The merger is expected to close in the third quarter.

The merger will create a leading, national testing platform. Together, Certified Group and FSNS represent a highly differentiated testing services provider in North America. The merger will bring Certified Group’s employee base to ~1,580 total employees, across 20 states and provinces in over 30 laboratories in North America. At the close of the transaction, John Bellinger, CEO of FSNS, will assume the role of CEO across all respective companies. Steven Mitchell, CEO of Certified Group, will become Vice Chairman of the combined company and Board member.

“The investment from Warburg Pincus reflects the current success of our company and underscores our top-tier position as a leading North American platform provider of testing and regulatory consulting services. The combined businesses position our company with the broadest footprint and most diversified service offering in the industry,” says John Bellinger, CEO of FSNS. “We are excited to work with Warburg Pincus, Tilia and the Certified team to grow the combined companies further.”

Warburg Pincus is a leading investor in food safety and food supply chain services, with current and historical investments in Certified Laboratories, Hygiena, GA Foods, SPINS, Aramark, Grubhub/Seamless, Duravant, and Trimark.

“I am excited by the opportunities the combined companies will achieve as our platform strengthens and grows,” says Steven Mitchell, CEO, Certified Laboratories Group. “I look forward to working with John and the team as we continue to deliver on the sophisticated needs of our clients.”

“The investment in FSNS reflects our ongoing mission to invest in companies that help make the food supply chain safer for customers and address the growing market opportunity. FSNS’ strength in microbiology testing paired with Certified Group’s strong position in chemistry testing are highly complementary, providing meaningful cross-sell potential to clients,” says Stephanie Geveda, Managing Director, Head of Business Services, Warburg Pincus.

“Warburg Pincus shares our vision of improving the global food and nutrition supply chain through innovative companies, backed by strong management teams. The merger of FSNS and Certified Group will strengthen and grow their respective service offerings, capabilities and footprint, enabling the combined company to reach a wider range of customers,” says Johannes Burlin, Co-CEO, Tilia.

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