Graham Partners buys Mercer Foods

Graham Partners Inc has acquired Mercer Foods LLC, a freeze-dried food provider. No financial terms were disclosed. Harris Williams & Co advised Mercer Foods on the deal. Mercer Foods was backed by Frontenac Company and Lake Pacific Partners LLC.


RICHMOND, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Harris Williams & Co., a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide for 25 years, announces the sale of Mercer Foods, LLC (Mercer Foods) to Graham Partners, Inc. (Graham Partners). Mercer Foods is a leading full service freeze-dried food provider. Harris Williams & Co. served as the exclusive advisor to Mercer Foods, a portfolio company of Frontenac Company (Frontenac) and Lake Pacific Partners, LLC (Lake Pacific). The transaction was led by Tim Alexander, Glenn Gurtcheff, Brant Cash and Andy Warczak from Harris Williams & Co.’s Consumer Group.

“Mercer Foods is an industry leader with a compelling growth profile and a proven leadership team,” said Tim Alexander, a managing director at Harris Williams & Co. “Mercer Foods steadily expanded under the ownership of Frontenac and Lake Pacific, and partnering with Graham Partners will allow the company to further capitalize on the clean label and better-for-you snacking megatrends in the food industry. We look forward to hearing about the company’s continued success.”

“There continues to be strong interest in the M&A market for food ingredient and better-for-you snack food businesses,” added Brant Cash, a director at Harris Williams & Co. “Mercer Foods’ products deliver the clean ingredient panels and offer the healthy snacking alternatives consumers want. In addition, the company’s compelling growth trends attracted significant investor interest.”

Mercer Foods is a leading producer of natural and organic freeze-dried fruits, vegetables and other foods and ingredients. The company was founded in 1980 by freeze-dried industry pioneer Jim Mercer. From its beginnings in the technology center of Palo Alto, California, the company has grown and expanded significantly at its current home in the food industry hub of Modesto, California. Mercer Foods is California-based and globally-connected, sourcing hundreds of different foods and crops both nearby in the fields of California and worldwide. With its roots in innovation and diverse source of supply, Mercer Foods creates the highest quality freeze-dried foods and ingredients, which the company provides to hundreds of food manufacturers, food retailers and foodservice companies.

Frontenac is a leading private equity firm based in Chicago. The firm focuses on investing in lower-middle market buyout transactions in the food, industrial and services industries. Frontenac works in partnership with proven operating leaders, through its executive-centric approach called CEO1ST, to identify, acquire and build market leading companies through transformational acquisitions and operational excellence. The firm has built a leading franchise working with over 225 owners of mid-sized businesses, almost always families or founders, as they address complex transition issues of liquidity, management enhancement and growth planning.

Lake Pacific is a leading private equity firm dedicated to the food, beverage and consumer products and services industries. The firm invests in buyout, growth equity and turnaround transactions involving established businesses across the food and consumer products supply chain. Lake Pacific’s team, led by Bill Voss and Wayne Carpenter, consists of industry and private equity professionals who have extensive experience in the food and consumer packaged goods industries and have served as chairmen, CEOs, presidents and board members of dozens of relevant companies ranging in size from $25 million to over $5 billion in sales.

Graham Partners is a private investment firm focused on investing in businesses with advanced industrial technologies, innovative product offerings and strong growth potential. Graham Partners targets companies with EBITDA between $5 million and $50 million and will invest in smaller companies to the extent they complement one or more of its other holdings. Since the firm’s founding in 1988, Graham Partners has closed over 80 acquisitions, joint ventures, financings and divestitures. The committed capital raised since inception through the Graham Partners funds together with Graham led co-investments totals approximately $2.1 billion, which differs from Regulatory Assets Under Management. Investors include university endowments, charitable foundations, financial institutions and private investors. Based in suburban Philadelphia, the firm has access to extensive operating resources and industrial expertise as a member of The Graham Group, an alliance of independently owned and operated industrial and investment management businesses that share in the common legacy of entrepreneur Donald C. Graham.

Harris Williams & Co. (, a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:PNC), is a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide. The firm has deep industry knowledge, global transaction expertise and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Harris Williams & Co. provides sell-side and acquisition advisory, restructuring advisory, board advisory, private placements and capital markets advisory services.

Harris Williams & Co.’s Consumer Group has completed more than 50 transactions in recent years across a variety of verticals, including branded consumer products; consumer services; food, beverage and agribusiness; and restaurant and retail. For more information on Harris Williams & Co.’s Consumer Group and other recent transactions, visit the Consumer Group’s section of the Harris Williams & Co. website.

Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd, which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Harris Williams & Co. is a trade name under which Harris Williams LLC and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd conduct business.