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Pinnacle Foods to buy TSG-backed protein foods maker Garden

(Reuters) – Pinnacle Foods Inc (PF.N) said it would buy Canadian plant-based protein food maker Garden Protein International Inc for $175 million from founder Yves Potvin and U.S. private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners LLC.

Vancouver-based Garden sells its products under the ‘Gardein’ brand, founded by Potvin in 2009. The brand is expected to generate net sales of about $65 million in 2014, Pinnacle said.

The brand’s frozen plant-based foods serve as alternatives for traditional animal-based products such as chicken strips and tenders, ground beef and fish fillets.

The brand is available in over 22,000 retail stores in North America, including those of Kroger Co (KR.N) and Target Corp (TGT.N).

Pinnacle, which sells Birds Eye branded frozen vegetables, said it will fund the buyout with cash in hand.

The company said it would invest significantly on the brand in 2015, and expected “a minimal, if any, positive impact on its earnings” next year.

The deal, including a manufacturing plant and nearly 250 employees, is expected to close on Friday.

“We believe that plant-based protein is at the tipping point of becoming mainstream,” Pinnacle Foods Chief Executive Bob Gamgort said.

Hillshire Brands Co (HSH.N) in June withdrew its recommendation to its shareholders to vote for a US$6.6 billion acquisition of Pinnacle Foods, following Tyson Foods Inc‘s (TSN.N) offer to buy Hillshire.

Perella Weinberg Partners is serving as financial advisor to Pinnacle Foods, while Houlihan Lokey Inc is serving as financial advisor to Garden Protein.

Based in San Francisco, TSG Consumer Partners invests exclusively in the branded consumer sector. The firm currently manages approximately US$3 billion in equity capital under management.

(Reporting by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of peHUB Canada)

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock