Darwin Private Equity is to sell its portfolio company Plum Baby Limited to Plum Organics, in return for shares in Plum Organics. The merged group will have over 150 products sold in over 13,000 stores internationally with retail sales in excess of $120 million.
Darwin Private Equity (“Darwin”) has today entered into an agreement to sell its portfolio company Plum Baby Limited to Plum Organics, in return for shares in Plum Organics. This partnership positions Plum as a leading kids nutrition brand and the first to offer premium products catered to the unique needs of infants, toddlers and school-aged children on an international scale. The merged group will have over 150 products sold in over 13,000 stores internationally with retail sales in excess of $120m USD.
Plum Baby was founded in the UK in 2006 and is a key player in the premium baby food sector. The business was acquired by Darwin in 2010 and is best known for its innovative product formats as well as its premium, culinary-driven product portfolio.
Plum Organics is a leading, organic kids nutrition company based in the US. Like Plum Baby, it was founded in 2006 and was the first US business to market the squeezable baby food pouch and is the only baby food business offering a comprehensive line of products for babies through to young children.
These sister companies share more than a common name; both were founded by passionate parents with a shared vision of making organic nutrition more appealing and more accessible. Collectively, they hope to impart the modern philosophy that the path to long-term health begins with the early introduction of nutritious food. Joining forces, the companies benefit from combined supply chains and distribution networks that will now span the US and the UK.
The merged business will be headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area and employ 88 staff including offices in London and New York. Neil Grimmer, CEO and Co-Founder of Plum Organics, will be CEO of the merged group. Scott Wotherspoon will continue as the UK President and Nish Kankiwala, Chairman of Plum Baby, joins the Board of the merged group.
Commenting on the merger, Neil Grimmer, said: “From the beginning, both companies were inspired by love to improve the health of our little ones by making great tasting organic food a part of a family’s busy lifestyle. Like Plum Organics, Plum UK is a ‘David versus Goliath’ brand filled with passionate people that are inspired to use the power of business to make a difference in the world. We’re excited to continue this mission together.”
Jonathan Kaye, Partner of Darwin Private Equity, commented: “This is the right next step in the development of the Plum businesses. The transaction creates a multinational premium kids nutrition company with an exciting future. Darwin will maintain a stake in the combined business and we are looking forward to working with Neil and the Plum Organics team to drive the group forward.”
Advisers to Plum Baby and Darwin were Spayne Lindsay & Co., L.E.K. Consulting, BDO, Kirkland & Ellis and PwC.
For further information, please contact:
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Rachel Hirst / Ian Payne
About Plum Baby
Plum Baby is a leading creator of nutritious organic baby food in the UK. Founded in 2006 by Savoy trained Chef and Mum, Susie Willis, Plum changed the face of baby food in the UK by offering “real food for babies not just baby food.” Initially crafted in the cookery school she ran, Plum is now available in all the major supermarket chains and health food stores in UK and Ireland offering over 40 products including convenient pouches, little pots, snacks and refrigerated dairy items. Junior Magazine recently named Plum Baby the Best Children’s Food Brand for 2012. In addition, Plum was a recipient of the 2012 Mother & Baby Awards.
About Plum Organics
Plum Organics® is a pioneer and leading provider of premium, nutritious organic baby food, toddler and kid snack food products. Plum Organics is best known for revolutionizing the US baby food category with the introduction of the squeezable pouch, a convenient, lightweight, BPA-free packaging solution. Recognized for their unique culinary-inspired recipes and a modern approach to family nutrition, Plum Organics is the only brand that offers a complete line of organic products that ensure healthy eating from the highchair to the lunchbox™. Inc. Magazine recently ranked Plum Organics #63 on their 2012 Inc. 500 list of Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America. In addition, the San Francisco Business Times named Neil Grimmer the Most-admired CEO in the Emerging Growth category for 2012.
Darwin Private Equity LLP is an independent private equity firm investing in UK businesses with enterprise values of between £10 million and £100 million.
Darwin is currently investing from Darwin Private Equity I LP (the “Fund”) which has commitments totalling £217 million from blue chip investors including Goldman Sachs, Pantheon Ventures, LGT Capital Partners and RIT Capital Partners plc.