Advent International is planning on merging portfolio companies Sovos Brands, a food and beverage company and Noosa, a yogurt manufacturer. No financial terms were disclosed. Deutsche Bank is serving as financial adviser to Noosa, with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP providing legal counsel. And, McDermott Will and Emery is serving as legal counsel to Sovos. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
BERKELEY, CA, and BELLVUE, CO, October 30, 2018 – Sovos Brands (“Sovos”), a food and beverage company backed by Advent International (“Advent”), today announced that it has signed a merger agreement under which noosa yoghurt, LLC (“noosa”), a fast-growing premium yoghurt manufacturer also backed by Advent, will expand Sovos Brands into the yoghurt category.
The transaction adds another exciting brand to the Sovos portfolio, which also includes Michael Angelo’s and Rao’s Homemade. Sovos’ mission is to acquire premium, on-trend brands with high-quality products that have significant growth opportunities, combining industry expertise with fresh thinking to bring authentic, delicious food into more homes. noosa was co-founded in 2009 by Koel Thomae, an Australian expat, and Rob Graves, a Colorado dairy farmer, who set out to bring the Aussie-style yoghurt with a creamy texture and sweet-tart flavor profile to the U.S. market. noosa boasts impressive consumer loyalty with premium positioning, and is made with whole milk, a touch of wildflower North American honey and real fruit purées on a family farm in Bellvue, Colorado. Sovos values noosa’s unique culture and its commitment to Colorado and plans to continue to manufacture products at the Bellvue facility.
Headquartered in Berkeley, California, and led by experienced consumer packaged goods executives, Sovos focuses on acquiring high-quality brands in on-trend categories with the potential to accelerate growth by investing in distribution, marketing, production and product innovation. noosa is the third brand to join the Sovos portfolio in the last two years. In January 2017, Sovos acquired Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods, a leading producer of premium, authentic frozen Italian entrées, and in July 2017 purchased Rao’s Specialty Foods Inc., which produces the leading super premium pasta sauce and other Italian specialty foods.
“noosa fits perfectly into our portfolio of one-of-a-kind brands in the food and beverage sector, and we have been impressed by its compelling growth opportunities, attractive consumer demographics and talented employee base,” said Todd Lachman, President and CEO of Sovos Brands. “noosa shares our unwavering commitment to authentic, delicious-tasting products using only the highest quality ingredients. Our team brings significant experience across food and beverage categories, and we see a number of attractive opportunities to grow the noosa brand as we expand Sovos Brands into the yoghurt category.”
According to Bill Johnson, Chairman of both the noosa and Sovos Boards of Directors and former Chairman, CEO and President of H.J. Heinz, Sovos will guide noosa into its next phase of growth while remaining true to the brand’s standard of making the finest yoghurt with the finest ingredients. “With the addition of noosa, Sovos will become a more powerful force in the food and beverage sector,” said Johnson. “I’ve had a chance to work first-hand with the team at Sovos, and they bring a wealth of knowledge and capability that will help noosa continue to scale and grow its brand. As part of Sovos, noosa will continue to create the same great ‘farm-to-fridge’ products that consumers expect, and I’m excited about what our companies can achieve together.”
Advent acquired a majority interest in noosa in November 2014, and during its ownership has worked with the company’s founders and management team to accelerate growth. Over the past four years, noosa has more than tripled its sales, market share and local production capacity in Bellvue, introduced more than 25 new flavors and sizes, and increased distribution from 5,000 stores to 25,000 nationwide.
“noosa’s merger into Sovos is a clear and logical next step for both companies, as they share the same brand and customer-centric values and growth goals,” said Jeff Case, a Managing Director at Advent. “noosa has established itself as a market leader in the premium yoghurt category, and we are confident that it will be well positioned for continued success as part of Sovos Brands. We look forward to working with Sovos to identify new growth opportunities across all their brands.”
Advent International has significant investment experience in the retail, consumer and leisure industry. Over the past 28 years, the firm has invested more than $10.9 billion in 75 companies in the sector across 22 countries worldwide. In addition to Sovos and noosa, recent North American investments include First Watch, lululemon athletica (NASDAQ: LULU), The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Serta Simmons Bedding, Party City (NYSE: PRTY), Bojangles’ (NASDAQ: BOJA) and Five Below (NASDAQ: FIVE).
Deutsche Bank is serving as financial advisor to noosa, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is acting as noosa’s legal counsel. McDermott Will and Emery is acting as Sovos’ legal counsel.
The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
ABOUT NOOSA YOGHURT
noosa was founded in 2009 by an Aussie expat and a Colorado dairy farmer who set out to bring the best-tasting yoghurt to the U.S. noosa yoghurt is made with whole milk and a touch of wildflower North American honey on a family farm in Bellvue, Colorado, noosa is currently available in a variety of unique flavors and sizes, ranging from 4-oz. 4-packs and 5.5-oz. mates mix-ins to 8-oz. and 24-oz. tubs. For more information, please visit www.noosayoghurt.com.
ABOUT SOVOS BRANDS
Sovos Brands is a new kind of food and beverage company with a mission to acquire and build one-of-a-kind brands. The brands in its portfolio, Michael Angelo’s and Rao’s Homemade are, respectively, a leading producer of premium, authentic frozen Italian entrées and producer of super premium pasta sauces and other Italian specialty foods. Sovos Brands has the soul of a startup, the experience of an industry leader and the financial backing of Advent International, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. The company has a one-of-a-kind approach to brands, business and people—in fact, the only thing that’s old school about the business is the name, inspired by the old Latin term sovos, which means unique or one of a kind. This one-of-a kind vision leads the company’s focus on people and brands, working to ensure that both can really thrive. Find out more about Sovos Brands at www.sovosbrands.com, Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods at www.michaelangelos.com, and Rao’s Homemade at www.raos.com.
ABOUT ADVENT INTERNATIONAL
Founded in 1984, Advent International is one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors. The firm has invested in over 340 private equity transactions in 41 countries and as of June 30, 2018, had $41 billion in assets under management. With offices on four continents, Advent has established a globally integrated team of over 190 investment professionals across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. The firm focuses on investments in five core sectors, including business and financial services; healthcare; industrial; retail, consumer and leisure; and technology, media and telecom. After more than 30 years dedicated to international investing, Advent remains committed to partnering with management teams to deliver sustained revenue and earnings growth for its portfolio companies. For more information, visit: www.adventinternational.com.