US: Nestle sells Joseph's Pasta to Brynwood Partners

By Katy Askew | 6 January 2014

Nestle has continued the pruning of its portfolio pruning with the sale of US unit Joseph's Pasta Co. to Brynwood Partners for an undisclosed sum.

The food giant acquired Joseph's in 2006 and operated the business under its foodservice arm, Nestle Prepared Foods. The business delivers frozen stuffed pasta to the foodservice sector. Its offering included stuffed cannelloni, ravioli, tortellini, gnocchi and manicotti.

Nestle is trimming its portfolio and selling off non-core brands in order to increase its focus on key growth areas. Late last year, the group completed the sale of its Jenny Craig weight management assets in North America and Oceania

Private-equity firm Brynwood acquired Joseph's through its newly-formed portfolio company JPC Acquisition Co. Brynwood senior partner Henk Hartong said the group would look to invest behind increasing innovation at the pasta unit.

The investment vehicle has acquired five businesses from Nestle, most recently taking on the Bit-O-Honey brand last year.

Just after Christmas, Brynwood announced a deal to sell a business formed from a number of the assets it acquired from Nestle.

Yildiz Holding, the owner of chocolate brand Godiva, is to acquire US confectioner DeMet's Candy Co. from its private-equity owners for US$221m.

DeMet's portfolio including the brands Turtles, Treasures and Flipz, was built from assets acquired from Nestle.

Last week, Brynwood added to its food roster with the acquisition of the SnackWell's low-fat cookie business from Mondelez International
Show the press release

Brynwood Partners VII L.P. Acquires Joseph's Pasta Company from Nestle Prepared Foods Company

GREENWICH, Conn., Jan. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Brynwood Partners VII L.P. announced today that its newly-formed portfolio company, JPC Acquisition Co., has acquired Joseph's Pasta Company from Nestle Prepared Foods Company. Nestle acquired Joseph's in 2006. Terms and conditions of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Joseph's business, headquartered in Haverhill, MA, has a leading position as a manufacturer and marketer of premium frozen stuffed pasta for the foodservice segment. Joseph's incorporates time-honored recipes and methodologies to make a wide range of superior pasta and sauces products that inspire innovation and customer loyalty. Its artisan products include stuffed cannelloni, stuffed ravioli, stuffed tortellini, gnocchi, and manicotti. Joseph's premium products are differentiated from its competitors' offerings as the company only uses the highest quality pasta and freshest ingredients. The business employs over 300 individuals.

"We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Joseph's from Nestle," said Henk Hartong, Senior Managing Partner, Brynwood Partners. "Joseph's manufactures delicious and unique products in its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. We are excited about the opportunity to accelerate innovation and explore new distribution channels. We look forward to investing in the business and working with Joseph's loyal and talented employees to grow and enhance the business. I would like to thank the Nestle team for its partnership and assistance in transitioning the business."

Brynwood has an established track record in the frozen food space. One of Brynwood Partners' most successful investments was in Richelieu Foods, Inc., a leading private label manufacturer of frozen pizza and salad dressings. Richelieu Foods was a portfolio company of Brynwood Partners V L.P. and was divested in 2010. "We had a great deal of success with Richelieu Foods in the frozen food space in both the retail and foodservice channels," Hartong continued. "We hope to be able to utilize some of that experience in the Joseph's investment."

This acquisition marks the first for Brynwood VII, Brynwood Partners' largest and most recently raised fund with $400 million of committed capital. Including Joseph's, Brynwood Partners has now completed five acquisitions from Nestle, with this being the second in 2013. Earlier in the year, Brynwood Partners VI L.P.'s portfolio company, Pearson Candy Company, acquired the iconic Bit-O-Honey brand from Nestle.

Brynwood Partners has developed a unique niche of being the lower middle market firm of choice for corporate divestitures. The Firm has a well-established track record of reviving smaller brands or businesses that are divested from large corporations. In its 29-year history, Brynwood Partners has now acquired 40 corporate brands from 15 different corporate sellers.

Brynwood Partners has a strong investment track record in the food space with active investments, including:

DeMet's Candy Company (Brynwood V portfolio company) a leading U.S.-based chocolate confectionery company manufacturing and marketing the Turtles, Flipz, and Treasures brands.

Back to Nature Foods Company, LLC (Brynwood VI portfolio company) a marketer of Back to Nature natural food products, including crackers, cookies, nuts, granolas, and juices as well as the recently acquired SnackWell's healthy cookies and snacks business.

Pearson Candy Company (Brynwood VI portfolio company) a manufacturer and marketer of widely recognized confectionery brands, including Pearson's Salted Nut Roll, Pearson's Mint Patties, Pearson's Nut Goodies, Pearson's Bun, and Bit-O-Honey.
Lightlife Foods, Inc. (Brynwood VI portfolio company) a manufacturer and marketer of soy-based vegetarian burgers, hot dogs, tempeh, and other refrigerated and frozen items in the meat alternative category under the Lightlife brand.

Prior investments by Brynwood Partners in the food space include Sun Country Foods, Inc., Balance Bar Company, Lincoln Snacks Company, and Signature Snacks Company.

Original source: Brynwood Partners

Sectors: Frozen, Mergers & acquisitions

Companies: Nestle

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