Pinnacle Foods Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Canada-based Garden Protein International Inc., the rapidly-growing manufacturer of the plant-based protein brand gardein™, from Founder and President Yves Potvin and TSG Consumer Partners LLC, a leading strategic equity firm.
Gardein is an innovator in the fast growing plant-based protein segment, with a line of award-winning frozen products that serve as alternatives for traditional animal-based protein formats, such as chicken strips and tenders, ground beef and fish fillets. As one of the fastest-growing frozen health and wellness brands in the U.S., Gardein enjoys exceptional velocity trends across both traditional and non-traditional retailers, including the natural and organic channel.
Commenting on the announcement, Pinnacle Foods Chief Executive Officer Bob Gamgort stated, “The acquisition of Gardein is a key enabler to continue building Birds Eye into the leading health and wellness brand focused on helping Americans eat more vegetables. By bringing Gardein under the Birds Eye umbrella, we will accelerate growth through expanded distribution, marketing and innovation.”
“We believe that plant-based protein is at the tipping point of becoming mainstream, making Gardein an exciting new growth platform for the Birds Eye business. We congratulate Yves and the Gardein team for pioneering new territory in food and look forward to welcoming them to Pinnacle,” added Gamgort.
“We are proud of the business we built, and are very excited about partnering with Birds Eye and Pinnacle to realize Gardein’s full potential,” said Yves Potvin. “We look forward to working with Birds Eye to expand the reach of great-tasting, plant-based protein products for consumers.”
Gardein is expected to generate net sales approximating CAD$65 million in 2014. The acquisition, which includes a manufacturing facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, and nearly 250 employees, is expected to be completed immediately. The purchase price of CAD$175 million will be funded with available liquidity.
Pinnacle plans to invest significantly behind Gardein in 2015 to continue to expand the brand and leverage the complementary positioning of Gardein and Birds Eye in the marketplace. As such, Pinnacle expects the addition of Gardein to have a minimal, if any, positive impact on its earnings in 2015.
In connection with this transaction, Perella Weinberg Partners is serving as financial advisor to Pinnacle Foods, while Houlihan Lokey, Inc. is serving as financial advisor to Garden Protein International Inc.