Remember Bear Growth Capital? It’s Exiting New Chapter After 7 Years

Procter & Gamble has agreed to buy New Chapter, which makes and sells vitamins and supplements.

Financial terms weren’t announced. The sale provides an exit for the former Bear Growth Capital Partners, which invested in the company more than seven years ago. The deal is expected to close in six weeks, says Tom Millikin, a P&G spokesman.

Brattleboro, V.T.-based New Chapter provides supplements like Wholemega Whole Fish Oil, Broccolive Plus and Zyflamend. The company, which was started by Paul and Barbi Schulick in 1982, currently employs about 280 people. All of New Chapter’s senior executives, except for CEO Tom Newmark, are staying in place, says Liz Bankowski, New Chapter’s board chair. Kyle Garner, a P&G employee, was named New Chapter’s CEO, according to the Brattleboro Reformer. Newmark is staying on as a consultant, Bankowski says.

P&G is buying all of New Chapter and the company will remain a wholly-owned, standalone subsidiary. P&G is looking to expand into fast-growing segments that serve the wellness and aging market, Millikin says. This includes the vitamins, minerals and supplements category, which is estimated to have a $75 billion market size and is growing 6% each year globally, he says.

The company has 125 shareholders, Bankowski say. “No one owned a controlling interest,” she says.

Bear Growth Capital Partners, the growth equity arm of the former Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, is an investor of New Chapter. Bear Growth bought a minority stake in the company in August 2005. The firm’s investment is now held by J.P. Morgan, which famously acquired Bear Stearns in 2008. (Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, the PE arm, split off from J.P. Morgan a few months later and renamed itself Irving Place Capital.)

Other New Chapter investors include 6Pacific, of Los Angeles, which provides M&A advisory and also invests in consumer companies. Individual partners of 6Pacific bought stakes in New Chapter and the firm acquired more of the vitamin firm over time, says John Barrymore, the firm’s managing partner and chairman. 6Pacific also advised New Chapter in the auction.

“It was a very successful outcome,” says Barrymore of the seven-year hold.

Eighteen months ago, New Chapter began looking to raise capital, Bankowski says. The firm, nine months ago, realized there were some “good partners” interested in New Chapter and began a formal process, Barrymore says.

Both private equity and strategics were involved, Barrymore says. Procter & Gamble “could do more with New Chapter brand than anyone else,” he says. “Their values are very similar to New Chapter.”