Sovos Brands, a new vehicle set up by private-equity investor Advent International, has made its first acquisition with the purchase of US frozen entrées supplier Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods.

Advent formed Sovos with the aim of growing it into a “scale player” in the US consumer goods space with a portfolio of brands that it plans to build and acquire. Sovos will focus on “high-quality brands” in “on-trend categories” that it aims to grow through investments in distribution, marketing, production and innovation, Advent said. 

Michael Angelo’s produces “authentic” frozen Italian entrées. The purchase price and other financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Michael Angelo’s was founded in 1983 and generates sales of around US$100m. Products are distributed nationally in grocery stores as well as natural and warehouse channels. 

David Roberts, a principal at Advent, said the acquisition of Michael Angelo’s is an “important first step” in the group’s ambition to “build a food and beverage company of significant scale”. He continued: “Advent and the team at Sovos Brands will focus on supporting Michael Angelo’s expansion while pursuing acquisitions of other high-potential businesses from founders, financial sponsors and large CPG companies.”

Advent said the acquisition and value creation initiatives at Sovos will be “spearheaded” by president and CEO Tood Lachman, a food industry veteran who has held executive posts at Mars Inc, Del Monte Foods and HJ Heinz. 

“Michael Angelo’s is a highly authentic, great-tasting, frozen Italian entrée brand well respected in the industry for its clean-label offering,” Lachman said. “The company exemplifies the types of businesses we are looking to acquire in the food and beverage space. It is a unique, leading branded player offering delicious food that meets today’s lifestyle and consumer demand for real, clean ingredients. We believe Michael Angelo’s has significant potential for growth through increased awareness, distribution and new product development, and we look forward to working with Michael Angelo and the management team to pursue these opportunities.”

Former Heinz CEO Bill Johnson will serve as Sovos’ chairman, while Larry Bodner, who has held posts with Del Monte Foods and Walt Disney, will take on the role of chief financial officer.