Brynwood Takes Control of Back to Nature

Financial terms weren’t announced. Kraft Foods, the seller, is retaining a minority stake, said Ian MacTaggart, a Brynwood managing partner. Brynwood will have a more than 50 percent stake in the company, he said.

The transaction is expected to close in October.

Under a joint venture with Kraft, Back to Nature will offer crackers, cookies, trail mixes/nuts and granola. Management of Back to Nature’s macaroni and cheese business will remain at Kraft, a statement said. Vincent Fantegrossi, the former President and CEO of Richelieu Foods, was also named Back to Nature’s president and CEO.

Kraft acquired the company in 2003 from Organic Milling. Back to Nature, in 2002, produced revenue of nearly $10 million. MacTaggart declined to disclose current sales for the company.

The deal was not an auction. Neither Brynwood nor Kraft used investment bankers, MacTaggart said.

Greenwich, Conn-based Brynwood Partners is a lower middle market firm. Brynwood focuses on consumer products, light manufacturing with low capital intensity and business services. The shop typically invests from $40 million to $60 million equity per deal.

The Back to Nature investment comes from Brynwood’s sixth fund, which raised $305 million in 2010. Fund VI has made eight investments and established five portfolio companies, MacTaggart said. The firm’s fifth fund collected $257 million in 2004.

In June, Brynwood announced that its portfolio company, High Ridge, was buying the White Rain personal care brand from Sun Products. (The deal also included brands Adorn, The Dry Look, Mink  and Toni.) High Ridge, in April, also acquired the Coast brand of body washes and bar soaps from The Dial Corp. Other Fund VI investments include Balance Bar Co., Pearson Candy Co. and Newhall Holdings.

Fund VI is 60 percent called and Brynwood will likely be fundraising for its next pool sometime in 2013, MacTaggart waid. “We will probably need to do another investment before we start thinking about [fundraising]…I have no idea how much we’ll be looking to raise.”

(Luisa Beltran is a reporter for sister news service peHUB.)