Private equity company Brynwood Partners is to to acquire a controlling stake in the Back to Nature brand food business through a joint venture partnership with Kraft Foods.
Kraft Foods will continue to hold a substantial minority stake in the business and will have board representation in the joint venture that is to be formed.
Founded in 1960, Back to Nature is one of the original natural food brands in the United States. The joint venture will initially offer Back to Nature products in four categories: (i) crackers, (ii) cookies, (iii) trail mixes & nuts and (iv) granola, while management of the Back to Nature macaroni and cheese business will remain with Kraft Foods.
Back to Nature products are widely distributed in the United States through leading retailers in the natural, food, drug, mass and club channels.
“We are excited to announce the Back to Nature transaction and are honored that Kraft Foods selected Brynwood VI as its joint venture partner,” said Henk Hartong III, Senior Managing Partner of Brynwood VI.
“We look forward to growing the Back to Nature brand and helping it to achieve even greater success in both the natural and mainstream channels through select new product and new category introductions, while staying true to the mission of giving people truly flavorful, wholesome foods made with simple ingredients. We are excited to work with Kraft in this unique joint venture between a private equity firm and a consumer products company formed to maximize the value of a smaller brand in its portfolio.”
In its 28-year history, Brynwood Partners has acquired 36 corporate brands from 14 different corporate sellers, including the Back to Nature acquisition. Since January 2011, the firm has completed the acquisitions of 20 corporate brands in seven separate transactions. This is the first time, however, that it has entered into a joint venture: previous transactions saw it acquiring the whole company.
The Back to Nature transaction marks Brynwood Partners’ third transaction with Kraft Foods. The company has a strong investment track record in the food space.
“This deal has a unique structure where a large consumer company like Kraft Foods has identified a way to partner with a specialist like Brynwood Partners to increase growth of a non-core asset while maintaining a significant financial interest,” continued Hartong III. “We think that this is a very forward-looking concept, and we are delighted to be Kraft’s partner.”