Sovos Brands, which is backed by Advent International, has acquired Austin-based Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods Inc, a leading provider of authentic frozen Italian entrées. No financial terms were disclosed. Piper Jaffray served as finanical adviser to Michael Angelo’s on the transaction while Deutsche Bank did likewise for Advent International.
BOSTON, MA, and AUSTIN, TX, February 1, 2017 – Advent International, one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors, today announced that Sovos Brands, a new company formed by Advent, has completed the acquisition of Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods Inc., a leading producer of premium, authentic frozen Italian entrées. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Michael Angelo’s is the first investment by Sovos Brands, a new type of food and beverage company that seeks to acquire and build one-of-a-kind brands to establish a scale player in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area and led by seasoned CPG executives, Sovos Brands will focus on high-quality brands in on-trend categories with the potential to accelerate growth by investing in distribution, marketing, production and product innovation. The company, whose name is inspired by the Latin term sovos, which means unique or one of a kind, has a distinctive approach to people and brands, working to ensure that both can really thrive.
Spearheading the acquisition and value creation initiatives at Sovos Brands will be a team headed by Todd Lachman, President and CEO, Larry Bodner, CFO, and Bill Johnson, Chairman. Mr. Lachman has a 25-year record of delivering growth and value creation as a senior executive at major consumer products companies, including Mars, Del Monte Foods, H.J. Heinz and Procter & Gamble. Mr. Bodner has over 25 years of experience as a performance-driven, operationally focused financial executive at companies including Big Heart Pet Brands, Del Monte Foods, Walt Disney and Procter & Gamble. Mr. Johnson was formerly chairman, CEO and president of H.J. Heinz. He had a distinguished 31-year career at Heinz, where he grew top- and bottom-line results across multiple segments to transform the company into a global food industry leader.
Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods is a family-owned and operated business with a passion for quality and talent for making authentic Italian prepared meals. Chairman and CEO Michael Angelo and his mother Sara have been cooking Italian food the right way for years, bringing traditional Italian cooking methods and flavors to a full line of single-serve and multi-serve meals found in the freezer sections. All products are made from scratch in small batches using the highest-quality, fresh ingredients, and are “clean label” with no fillers or preservatives. As Michael likes to say, “If you can’t find it in Mom’s kitchen, you won’t find it in our food.”
Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Michael Angelo’s has grown organicallyfrom a small, regional business to a national prepared meal brand, generating approximately $100 million in gross sales. The company’s meals are available at grocery stores, natural food stores and warehouse club stores nationwide.
“Michael Angelo’s is a highly authentic, great-tasting, frozen Italian entrée brand well respected in the industry for its clean-label offering,” said Todd Lachman, President and CEO of Sovos Brands. “The company exemplifies the types of businesses we are looking to acquire in the food and beverage space. It is a unique, leading branded player offering delicious food that meets today’s lifestyle and consumer demand for real, clean ingredients. We believe Michael Angelo’s has significant potential for growth through increased awareness, distribution and new product development, and we look forward to working with Michael Angelo and the management team to pursue these opportunities.”
Michael Angelo, Chairman and CEO of Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods, said, “Our new partnership with Sovos Brands represents a perfect fit for our company. Sovos Brands is a lean, nimble organization led by experienced industry executives who share our long-term vision for the business. With their investments in production, distribution and product innovation, we believe we can accelerate Michael Angelo’s growth and continue our mission of creating the highest-quality Italian entrées in the freezer aisle. I look forward to partnering with Todd Lachman and his team on Michael Angelo’s next stage of development.”
David Roberts, a Principal at Advent International, said, “The acquisition of Michael Angelo’s is an important first step in our plan to build a food and beverage company of significant scale. Advent and the team at Sovos Brands will focus on supporting Michael Angelo’s expansion while pursuing acquisitions of other high-potential businesses from founders, financial sponsors and large CPG companies.”
Advent International has significant investment experience in the retail, consumer and leisure industry. Over the past 26 years, the firm has invested in more than 70 companies in the sector across 20 countries worldwide. Recent North American investments include Noosa Yoghurt, lululemon athletica (NASDAQ: LULU), The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Serta Simmons Bedding, Party City (NYSE: PRTY), Bojangles’ (NASDAQ: BOJA) and Five Below (NASDAQ: FIVE).
Piper Jaffray served as financial advisor and The Giannuzzi Group served as legal advisor to Michael Angelo’s on the transaction. Deutsche Bank served as financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges served as legal advisor to Advent International.
ABOUT MICHAEL ANGELO’S GOURMET FOODS
Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods is a family-owned and operated business with a passion for quality and a talent for making authentic Italian prepared meals. Chairman and CEO Michael Angelo and his mother Sara have been cooking Italian food the right way for years, bringing traditional Italian cooking methods and flavors to a full line of single-serve meals and multi-serve meals found in the freezer sections. Michael Angelo’s products are always free of additives found in other frozen and prepared foods. As Michael likes to say, “If you can’t find it in Mom’s kitchen, you won’t find it in our food.” Michael Angelo’s meals are available at grocery stores, natural food stores and warehouse club stores nationwide.
ABOUT SOVOS BRANDS
Sovos Brands is a new kind of food and beverage company with a mission to acquire and build one-of-a-kind brands. Sovos has the soul of a startup, the experience of an industry leader and the financial backing of Advent International. Sovos Brands has a one-of-a-kind approach to brands, business and people—in fact, the only thing that’s old school about the company is the name, inspired by the old Latin term sovos, which means unique or one of a kind. This one-of-a kind vision leads the company’s focus on people and brands, working to ensure that both can really thrive. Find out more about Sovos Brands at Sovosbrands.com.
ABOUT ADVENT INTERNATIONAL
Founded in 1984, Advent International is one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors. The firm has invested in more than 320 private equity transactions in 40 countries and as of September 30, 2016, had $42 billion in assets under management. With offices on four continents, Advent has established a globally integrated team of over 190 investment professionals across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. The firm focuses on investments in five core sectors, including business and financial services; healthcare; industrial; retail, consumer and leisure; and technology, media and telecom. After more than 30 years dedicated to international investing, Advent remains committed to partnering with management teams to deliver sustained revenue and earnings growth for its portfolio companies. For more information, visit www.adventinternational.com.
Todd Lachman, President and CEO
Mr. Lachman has a 25-year record of delivering significant growth and value creation at major consumer products companies. Most recently, he was a senior advisor to Advent International, evaluating opportunities in the consumer space. Prior to that role, Mr. Lachman served as global president of Mars Petcare, the world leader in the $70 billion pet-food category, where he drove market share gains through organic growth and the multibillion-dollar acquisition of Iams/Eukanuba from Procter & Gamble. Before Mars Petcare, Mr. Lachman was president of Mars Chocolate North America and Latin America, where he significantly accelerated growth and increased margins through brand revitalization and a comprehensive cost-reduction program.
Prior to Mars, Mr. Lachman served as executive vice president at Del Monte Foods Company, where he, along with Larry Bodner, led a portfolio realignment and the acquisition of the Meow Mix and Milkbone brands. Previously, he also held senior management roles at H.J. Heinz Company and Procter & Gamble. At H.J. Heinz, Mr. Lachman worked directly under the guidance of Bill Johnson, who served as chairman, CEO and president.
Larry Bodner, CFO
Larry Bodner has over 25 years of experience as a performance-driven, operationally focused financial executive with significant M&A experience. Most recently, he was a senior advisor to Advent International, evaluating opportunities in the consumer space. Prior to that role, Mr. Bodner was the chief financial officer at Big Heart Pet Brands, a leader in the U.S. pet-snacks and pet-food categories. He led transformational change in the portfolio through extensive M&A, investment in organic growth as well as cost savings.
Prior to Big Heart Pet Brands, Mr. Bodner was the chief financial officer of Del Monte Foods and before Del Monte, he held senior management roles at Walt Disney Company and Procter & Gamble. Mr. Bodner currently serves on the Board of Directors of Hearthside Foods and Hostess Brands.
Bill Johnson, Chairman
Bill Johnson is former chairman, chief executive officer and president of H.J. Heinz Company. He had a distinguished 31-year career at Heinz, where he was CEO for over 15 years. Under his leadership, Heinz grew top- and bottom-line results across multiple segments to transform the company into a global food industry leader. In addition to his role as CEO and president, Mr. Johnson held a number of leadership positions throughout the organization, including chief operating officer and senior vice president and served on the Heinz board of directors for 20 years.
He began his career at Heinz in 1982 as general manager of new businesses for Heinz U.S.A.
Most recently, Mr. Johnson has been engaged as an independent operating partner with Advent International, where he has served as chairman of Advent portfolio company Noosa Yoghurt, a premium yoghurt manufacturer. In two years under Advent’s ownership, Noosa has invested in product innovation and production capacity, increased distribution and grown its gross sales from approximately $70 million to over $150 million. Mr. Johnson also serves on the boards of Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR), PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) and UPS (NYSE: UPS), where he is lead director. He previously served on the boards of The PNC Financial Services Group, The Clorox Company, Georgia-Pacific LLC, the Amerada Hess Corporation and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.