GTCR Completes Fairmount Cheese Exit

Private equity firm GTCR has completed its sale of Fairmount Cheese Holdings Inc. to Saputo Inc. The $270.5 million deal provided an exit for GTCR, which formed Fairmount in 2003 as a means to acquire and consolidate companies in the specialty cheese industry.

GTCR, a leading private equity firm, announced today it has completed the previously announced sale of Fairmount Cheese Holdings Inc. (“Fairmount”), parent company of DCI Cheese Company Inc. (“DCI”), to Saputo Inc. (“Saputo”) for $270.5 million. Fairmount is one of the largest national suppliers of specialty cheese, dips and spreads to the retail and foodservice channels of the food industry. Headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, with additional facilities in Wisconsin, New Jersey and California, Fairmount sells more than 160 million pounds and 100 types of cheese, including its own portfolio of owned and exclusive brands.

GTCR founded Fairmount in 2003 to acquire and consolidate companies in the high-growth, highly fragmented specialty cheese industry. The initial platform acquisition for Fairmount was DCI in 2005. Between 2006 and 2007, Fairmount completed four other significant acquisitions in the specialty cheese and refrigerated foods space with additional equity capital provided by GTCR.

“We congratulate the Fairmount team today on the successful sale of the company to Saputo,” said GTCR Principal Dave Donnini. “We have enjoyed an outstanding partnership with Michael Mulhern, Phil Macnabb, Tim Omer and the rest of the management team, and we wish the company well in its new partnership with Saputo, a leader in the dairy industry.”

“We are very pleased to complete the sale of Fairmount to Saputo,” said Michael Mulhern, CEO of Fairmount. “We thank GTCR for its commitment to our business as we’ve built Fairmount from under $90 million of sales in 2005 to nearly $460 million of sales in 2010 through both internal growth and strategic acquisitions. Our management team looks forward to working with Saputo to continue this growth.”

The acquisition will complement the activities of Saputo Dairy Products Division (USA) and increase its presence in the specialty cheese category in the United States. Saputo produces, markets and distributes a wide array of products of the utmost quality, including cheese, fluid milk, yogurt, dairy ingredients and snack-cakes. Saputo is the 12th largest dairy processor in the world, the largest in Canada, the third largest in Argentina, among the top 3 cheese producers in the United States and the largest snack-cake manufacturer in Canada.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and BMO Capital Markets served as Fairmount’s financial advisors, and Kirkland & Ellis, LLP provided legal counsel.

About GTCR
Founded in 1980, GTCR is a leading private equity firm focused on investing in growth companies in the Financial Services & Technology, Healthcare and Information Services & Technology industries. The Chicago-based firm pioneered the “Leaders Strategy” — finding and partnering with world-class leaders as the critical first step in identifying, acquiring and building market-leading companies through acquisitions and organic growth. Since its inception, GTCR has invested more than $8.5 billion in over 200 companies.