JPB Capital Partners of Columbia, Md., recently took a stake in Baltimore-based Ilex Consumer Products Group, which just acquired the domestic rights of Johnson & Johnson’s St. Joseph aspirin brand. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed but the Gazette newspaper calls the investment “significant.”
JPB Capital Partners II, L.P. announced today that it has completed a significant equity investment in Ilex Consumer Products Group, Inc. (“Ilex CPG”) to support the acquisition of the ST. JOSEPH’S® ASPIRIN brand from the McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc., a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. The company will be based in Baltimore, MD and JPB Capital Partners, in combination with Ilex CPG’s original financial sponsor—Ilex Capital Group—will have majority ownership of the company. The transaction closed today and the terms and conditions of the transaction were not disclosed. Ilex CPG’s current brand portfolio includes such well-known names as Calgon® and the Healing Garden™.
ST. JOSEPH’S® ASPIRIN is an iconic brand with a rich 145-year history evidenced by its 90%+ consumer brand awareness rating. The brand was created in the heartland of America by the Gerstle Medicine Co. of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Plough, Inc. bought the ST. JOSEPH’S® ASPIRIN brand in 1920, and by 1946, the pleasant-tasting orange tablet of ST. JOSEPH’S® ASPIRIN had become a staple in households nationwide—bringing comfort and relief from aches and pains. In 2000, McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, a Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc., a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, acquired ST. JOSEPH’S® ASPIRIN from Schering-Plough. In 2003, ST. JOSEPH’S® ASPIRIN celebrated the 81st birthday of its 81mg pill, the dose doctors recommend most for daily aspirin regimens.
St. Joseph now has a new home with Ilex CPG.
“Strategic acquisitions in the OTC pharmaceutical market are core to our shareholder value-creation strategy. We are strengthening Ilex’s position in key categories with the addition of St. Joseph Aspirin. St. Joseph is a scalable brand that competes in an attractive category, and provides a clear path for shareholder value creation through increased brand support and line extensions,” Ilex CPG President and COO Robert Bailey said in a statement.
“This transaction is consistent with our strategy of acquiring businesses that have strong consumer franchises and are important to retailers. St. Joseph is one of the top 3 brands in the low-dose aspirin category and is well positioned for growth in the broader cardio-wellness segment. We fully intend to make a significant commitment to communicating the benefits of the brand through an aggressive consumer marketing campaign, and are very excited about the growth prospects for this segment,” added Bailey.
Ilex Consumer Products Group was formed in 2008 and currently owns and markets the Calgon® and the Healing Garden™ brands. Calgon® is a complete line of bath and body beauty products with a wide variety of fragrances. Calgon® is best remembered for its famous “Take Me Away” television and print advertising tagline from the 1970’s and 80’s. Acquired by Ilex CPG in 2009 from Ascendia Brands, the brand has been successfully re-launched with new advertising, new products and new collections.
The Healing Garden™ is a line of botanical and organic bath and body care products sold through specialty bath and beauty retailers. The Healing Garden™ brand was also acquired by Ilex CPG in 2009 from Ascendia Brands.
JPB Capital Partners has a strong track record in the consumer products space. J.P. Bolduc, the Chairman and CEO of JPB Enterprises, the manager of the private equity fund, is the former CEO and President of W.R. Grace & Co., Inc., a Fortune 100 company, and an original founding general partner of Catterton Partners, a Greenwich, CT-based private equity firm focused on consumer products. During his tenure at W.R. Grace, and as a General Partner at Catterton, Mr. Bolduc was involved with many well known consumer product brands and products, including Ambrosia Chocolates, Brothers Gourmet Coffee, Odwalla, P.F. Chang’s, and Wolfgang Puck.
“We are excited to be a part of the Ilex team and to have the opportunity to acquire such an iconic brand as St. Joseph’s,” said James R. Bolduc, Managing Director, JPB Capital Partners. “We believe the brand’s history, combined with the growing awareness of the benefits of a low-dosage aspirin regimen as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle, present tremendous opportunities for growth in aspirin as well as brand extensions into other heart-healthy lifestyle products.”
About Ilex Consumer Products Group
Based in Baltimore, MD, Ilex Consumer Products Group is a consumer brand management company that owns brands in the health, beauty and over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical sector. The Ilex-owned brands currently being marketed in the health and beauty segment consist of Calgon® (a line of branded body mists, body creams and shower and bath gels) and the Healing Garden™ (a line of botanical and organic bath and body care products). In the OTC low-dosage aspirin segment, Ilex owns ST. JOSEPH’S® ASPIRIN. These brands have prominent distribution positions in the food, drug, and mass retailers, as well as significant international distribution. (www.ilexgroup.com)
About JPB Capital Partners:
JPB Capital Partners is a private equity firm located in Columbia, Maryland that invests in lower middle market companies in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. The JPB Capital Partners team combines operational and financial expertise with its extensive network of relationships. (www.jpbcapital.com)
About Ilex Capital Group
Ilex Capital Group is an Annapolis, MD-based private investment firm that originates, structures and acts as lead equity investor in management-led buyouts, strategic minority equity investments, equity private placements, consolidations, and growth capital financings. (www.ilexcapital.com)