Hillshire Brands Acquires Van's Natural Foods for $165 Million
By Grocery Headquarters Staff
The Hillshire Brands Company and Catterton Partners, the consumer-focused private equity firm, announced that Hillshire Brands has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Catterton portfolio company Van’s Natural Foods. Van’s is a better-for-you food brand that delivers nutrition, simple/clean ingredients and all-family appeal across multiple product lines in frozen breakfast and snack foods. Hillshire Brands will pay $165 million for Van’s, which is expected to have net revenues of approximately $60 million in calendar year 2014. The transaction is expected to close in May of 2014 pending regulatory clearance. “The Van’s brand is a terrific addition to our portfolio,” says Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer, The Hillshire Brands Company. “Not only does it expand our presence in the frozen category, it also gives us a proven health and wellness brand with extendability beyond frozen.” Van’s Natural Foods will become part of Hillshire Brands’ Retail segment, pairing with brands such as Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ball Park. Van’s Natural Foods’ management will continue to lead the business. “As a leader in branded foods including breakfast products, Hillshire Brands is an ideal strategic partner for Van’s,” says Eric Kufel, CEO, Van’s Natural Foods. “Our positioning in the large and growing wellness consumer lifestyle segment is a perfect complement to Hillshire Brands’ product portfolio. We are pleased to have worked with Catterton, which helped drive our significant growth and market expansion into multiple new categories. I am truly excited to be joining with Hillshire and beginning the next phase of Van’s growth journey.” Van’s Natural Foods is based in Phoenix and labels itself as a simple/clean ingredient food brand in frozen breakfast and snack foods including waffles, pancakes, cereal, crackers and snack bars. Van’s frozen breakfast and snack foods are available at grocery stores, mass merchandise stores and natural food retailers nationwide. Marc Magliacano, a partner at Catterton, adds, “We are proud of the brand and distinctive market positioning that we and the Van’s management team have created over the past few years. This transaction is a win for all parties involved and we are confident and excited that under Hillshire's ownership Van’s will continue to experience significant growth and capitalize on new opportunities.” Centerview Partners served as financial advisor and Stinson Leonard Street served as legal advisor to Hillshire Brands. Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisor and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher served as legal advisor to Van’s in connection with the transaction.