Saputo Buys PE-backed Fairmont Cheese

Saputo Inc. will acquire Deerfield, Illinois-based Fairmount Cheese Holdings Inc., a company owned by private equity investor GTCR, for an undisclosed amount. GTCR formed Fairmount Cheese in 2003 as a means to consolidate companies in the high-growth, highly fragmented specialty cheese industry, the firm said. The acquisition is expected to close in March.


GTCR, a leading private equity firm, today announced its portfolio company, Fairmount Cheese Holdings Inc. (“Fairmount”), parent company of DCI Cheese Company Inc. (“DCI”), has signed a definitive agreement to be purchased by Saputo Inc. (“Saputo”). Fairmount is one of the largest national suppliers of specialty cheese, dips and spreads to the retail and foodservice channels of the food industry. Headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, with additional facilities in Wisconsin, New Jersey and California, Fairmount sells more than 160 million pounds and 100 types of cheese, including its own portfolio of owned and exclusive brands.

In 2003, GTCR founded Fairmount to acquire and consolidate companies in the high-growth, highly fragmented specialty cheese industry. The initial platform acquisition for Fairmount was DCI in 2005. Between 2006 and 2007, Fairmount completed four other principal acquisitions in the specialty cheese and refrigerated foods space.

“We are very thankful for the efforts of Michael Mulhern, Tim Omer and the rest of the management team as they have successfully built the company,” said GTCR Principal Dave Donnini. “We have enjoyed an outstanding partnership with Fairmount and DCI, and its new relationship with Saputo represents an exciting next chapter in the company’s story.”

“I’d like to thank GTCR for their unwavering support in helping Fairmount become an industry leading company,” said Michael Mulhern, CEO of Fairmount. “We look forward to working with Saputo to continue building on the legacy of our industry-recognized success.”

The acquisition will complement the activities of Saputo Dairy Products Division (USA) and increase its presence in the specialty cheese category in the United States. The transaction is expected to close in March.

Saputo produces, markets and distributes a wide array of products of the utmost quality, including cheese, fluid milk, yogurt, dairy ingredients and snack-cakes. Saputo is the 12th largest dairy processor in the world, the largest in Canada, the third largest in Argentina, among the top 3 cheese producers in the United States and the largest snack-cake manufacturer in Canada.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and BMO Capital Markets served as Fairmount’s financial advisors, and Kirkland & Ellis, LLP provided legal counsel.

About GTCR
Founded in 1980, GTCR is a leading private equity firm focused on investing in growth companies in the Financial Services & Technology, Healthcare and Information Services & Technology industries. The Chicago-based firm pioneered the “Leaders Strategy” — finding and partnering with world-class leaders as the critical first step in identifying, acquiring and building market-leading companies through acquisitions and organic growth. Since its inception, GTCR has invested more than $8.0 billion in over 200 companies. For more information, please visit