Nautic Partners Exits Big Train

Nautic Partners has exited Big Train Inc., selling the company to Kerry Group plc. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Lake Forest, Calif.-based Big Train is a manufacturer of liquid and powdered beverage concentrates.


Nautic Partners, LLC (“Nautic”) announced today that it has completed the sale of Big Train, Inc. (“Big Train” or the “Company”) to Kerry Group plc. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Lake Forest, CA, Big Train is a manufacturer and marketer of liquid and powdered beverage concentrates used for blended ice coffee, fruit smoothies, chai tea, cocoa drinks and various syrups. The company distributes its products through multiple channels, including independent coffeehouses, large retail chains, and international distributors. Big Train serves its approximately 14,000 coffeehouse customers directly, as well as through distributors. Coffeehouses sell the Company’s product under the “Big Train” brand as well as under private label.

“Our experience working alongside the Big Train management team has been excellent,” said Bernie Buonanno, Managing Director of Nautic. “The strength of the Company’s leadership and the high quality of its products are reflected in its double-digit growth over the last few years.”

“Our partnership with Nautic was a tremendously positive experience,” said Robyn Hawkins, former Chief Executive Officer of Big Train. “With Nautic we expanded our relationships with multiple key customers, acquired substantial new business, and positioned the Company for strong growth in the coming years.”

Edwards Wildman Palmer acted as legal counsel for the Company.

The Big Train sale was Nautic’s fourth liquidity event since November 2012. The three other exits were GCA Services Group to The Blackstone Group, Aavid Thermalloy to Audax Private Equity, and Agilex Fragrances to MidOcean Partners.

About Nautic Partners

Founded in 1986, Nautic Partners is a middle-market private equity firm with over $2.5 billion of equity capital under management. The firm has completed 114 platform investments in partnership with management and delivered successful results to investors over three decades. Nautic targets equity investments of $25-$75 million, representing majority ownership in niche businesses with strong market share and growth potential, identified value enhancement opportunities and strong management teams. Areas of focus include business services, manufacturing, and healthcare.