Brantley Partners Selling Best Brands for $510 Million

Brantley Partners has agreed to sell Best Brands, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based bakery manufacturer, to CSM. The deal is valued at $510 million in cash.


CSM today announces that it has reached an agreement to acquire Best Brands, one of the largest premium bakery manufacturers in the US market, for cash consideration of $510 million.

The acquisition of Best Brands creates the undisputed market leader in the North American bakery supplies market with total sales in excess of $2.3 billion. The acquisition strengthens CSM’s global leadership position in the segments and product categories that CSM has targeted for future growth, particularly in the in-store bakery market. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory review, is expected to be completed in March 2010.

Best Brands achieved sales of $538 million in 2009. Best Brands have around 75% of their sales in the in-store segment with particular strengths in frozen baked cakes and muffins, which are complimentary to CSM’s HC Brill product and customer portfolio.

Commenting on the acquisition, Gerard Hoetmer, CSM CEO said: “The acquisition of Best Brands fits in our strategic journey which started in 2005. In these last four years we have created an efficient and focused company, resulting in global market leadership positions in both Bakery Supplies and Purac. In our strategy we have expressed our consolidator role in the bakery supplies market after having built the capabilities to grow organically by leveraging our innovation power and exploiting our economies of scale. The Best Brands acquisition fully fits within our stated strategy as it strengthens our leadership in our core markets, brings complimentary products in an extended customer portfolio and expands our baking capabilities. This acquisition will strengthen our ability to deliver organic growth in the North American market in particular as we leverage opportunities to grow in the in-store and out of home markets.”

Our combined scale will bring synergies in production, logistics and procurement, which are expected to amount to at least $20 million within three years. The acquisition of Best Brands, which will generate additional shareholder value for CSM, represents a large step forward in the execution of our specific Bakery Supplies North American strategy. We will continue to drive the strategic objectives we have for our other divisions. Bakery Supplies Europe which has been completely restructured over the last years will also continue to improve its market position in strategic areas. Purac will continue its growth in preservation and green chemicals; our recent announcement regarding the construction of a large scale lactide factory is a prime example of our growth strategy.

The acquisition price of $510 million represents a multiple of 8.5 times reported EBITDA 2009. CSM closed 2009 with substantially lower net debt compared to year-end 2008. The acquisition of Best Brands can be financed from existing available credit facilities. Rabobank/ Rothschild acted as exclusive advisors to CSM.