US: Ex-Sara Lee exec in Shearer's Foods buy-out

By Dean Best | 30 August 2012

  • Shearer's Foods changes private-equity hands
  • Fraleigh left Sara Lee last year

Private-equity firm Wind Point Partners has snapped up US snacks group Shearer's Foods in a takeover backed by former Sara Lee executive C.J. Fraleigh.

Wind Point Partners has acquired what it called "the largest producer of private-label salty snacks in North America" in a secondary buy-out from Mistral Equity Partners.

Fraleigh, who left Sara Lee last year in the wake of the company's plans to split in two, will become Shearer's chairman and CEO.

"I'm very excited to be joining the team at Shearer's," Fraleigh said. "With the growth of private label brands and the trend toward outsourcing for branded food companies, Shearer’s is well-positioned to continue its historical growth trajectory."

Wind Point Partners MD Mark Burgett said Fraleigh was "a top calibre CEO in the food industry". He added: "We are confident that we will create value through initiatives such as introducing a proactive strategic selling effort, leveraging Shearer's proven ability to innovate and implementing continuous improvement programs."

Show the press release

Wind Point Signs Agreement to Acquire Shearer's Foods

Wind Point partners with C.J. Fraleigh, former CEO of Sara Lee – North America, to acquire the largest producer of private label salty snacks in North America

Wind Point Partners, a Chicago-based private equity investment firm, today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Shearer’s Foods. The transaction is expected to close in October.

Based in Brewster, Ohio, Shearer’s is the largest producer of private label salty snacks in North America and the largest producer of kettle cooked potato chips in the world. Shearer’s manufactures both branded and private label snacks for leading blue-chip retailers and contract manufactures snacks for the nation’s largest branded snack food companies.

Wind Point is partnering with C.J. Fraleigh, who is joining Shearer’s as Chairman and CEO. C.J., who most recently served as CEO of Sara Lee – North America, has 25 years of experience in consumer products.

“I’m very excited to be joining the team at Shearer’s,” commented Fraleigh. “With the growth of private label brands and the trend toward outsourcing for branded food companies, Shearer’s is well-positioned to continue its historical growth trajectory. I look forward to working with the company’s 1,850 employees to execute on growth opportunities we’ve identified and continue providing Shearer’s customers with excellent service and consistently high quality products.” 

Mark Burgett, a managing director at Wind Point stated, “Wind Point’s partnership with C.J. – a top caliber CEO in the food industry – along with our depth of experience with food investments, creates an excellent opportunity to drive growth at Shearer’s. We are confident that we will create value through initiatives such as introducing a proactive strategic selling effort, leveraging Shearer’s proven ability to innovate and implementing continuous improvement programs. We are excited to work with C.J. and the management team to continue the Shearer’s success story.”

Wind Point currently holds four additional food-focused investments – Hearthside Food Solutions, Nonni’s, Rupari Foods and Ryt-way Industries. Wind Point’s former food investments include Toronto-based Santa Maria Foods (sold to Sofina Foods in April 2012) and Bakery Chef.

 

Original source: Wind Point Partners

Sectors: Mergers & acquisitions, Private label, Snacks

Companies: Sara Lee

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