Prelude Growth enters the condiment scene, Apollo bets $200m on Utah’s largest fiber operator FirstDigital Telecom

Apollo invests in FirstDigital while Prelude Growth invests in Fly by Jing.

Happy Friday!

I have a mixed bag of deal investments to present today. One is a cult-favorite Asian condiment brand and another a fiber operator bridging the national digital divide – validating that PE deal activity can be found in any and all sectors.

To begin with, Prelude Growth Partners announced a minority growth investment into Fly By Jing, a wildly popular Chinese hot sauce maker.

The company – famous for its authentic Sichuan chili sauce – falls well within Prelude’s thesis of supporting brands that cater to the new modern consumer.

“What’s happening in the US is that demand for ethnic global cuisines is exploding,” said Neda Daneshzadeh, co-founder of the female-founded firm. It’s the idea that new generations are seeking more adventurous flavors, she says, and Fly By Jing is serving that demand.

Founded by Jing Gao, a chef and renowned expert on Chinese cuisine, the brand has been predominantly digital. “But now it’s time to go much more aggressively into mainstream grocery aisles,” Daneshzadeh said during a recent interview. The immediate plan for the brand is to enter stores like Whole Foods and Target.

The proprietary deal process did not involve any bankers and closed a few months ago. Although this is Prelude’s first foray into the condiment space, the firm expects to close another condiment investment this year. Read the brief on PE Hub.

Apollo’s infra bet: Apollo Global Management is investing $200 million in FirstDigital Telecom, a fiber-based carrier in the Western U.S.

The investment will support the company’s growth strategy, inclusive of its recent acquisition of Veracity Networks, a transaction that positions FirstDigital as the largest fiber operator in Utah, the press release states.

Dylan Foo, senior partner and co-head of Infrastructure at Apollo, said the firm will leverage its telecoms infrastructure expertise and capital to help the company grow.
Evercore acted as financial advisor to Apollo on the deal while Houlihan Lokey acted as financial advisor to FirstDigital. Read the brief here.

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