While the pandemic caused major disruptions in the food and beverage industry, 2021 was still a big year for significant mergers and acquisitions.
Below, are the top ten mergers and acquisitions stories from the FoodBev website.
Refresco purchases three US production sites from Coca-Cola
In August, Refresco entered into an agreement to acquire three of The Coca-Cola Company’s production facilities in the US.
The transaction included three hot-fill production plants – in Truesdale, Missouri; Waco, Texas; and Paw Paw, Michigan – and supported Refresco’s efforts to strengthen its manufacturing footprint in North America.
In addition, as part of the deal, the bottler became one of The Coca-Cola Company’s third-party contract manufacturers in the US.
Graphic Packaging acquires Americraft Carton for $280m
Spring saw Graphic Packaging Holding Company announce its intentions to acquire Americraft Carton, a folding carton producer in North America, for approximately $280 million.
Americraft Carton manufactures all styles of paperboard folding carton for a variety of industries including food, food service, pet food and pharmaceutical.
The deal – which included seven converting facilities and Americraft Carton’s team of employees – enabled Graphic Packaging to expand its position into new and existing end markets.
“We are focused on capturing ongoing organic growth from the continued move to more circular and sustainable packaging alternatives and achieving our Vision 2025 for all stakeholders,” said Michael Doss, Graphic Packaging’s president and CEO.
HelloFresh buys Australian ready meal firm Youfoodz for $93m
Meal kit company HelloFresh agreed to acquire Australian ready-to-eat meal manufacturer Youfoodz for AUD 125 million (approximately $93.3 million).
The deal marked an important step in HelloFresh’s growth strategy and strengthened its direct-to-consumer, ready-to-eat capabilities, as well as enhancing its Australian brand portfolio and product offering.
Upon completion of the transaction, Youfoodz planned to continue to operate under its own brand. HelloFresh said it would make the brand become increasingly available to its consumers through a subscription platform.
“We are impressed by Youfoodz’ strong product and manufacturing capabilities and are looking forward to jointly delight Australians with delicious, healthy and convenient meals,“ said Tom Rutledge, CEO of HelloFresh Australia and New Zealand.
Jiangsu Hihio-Art Packaging is bought by Huhtamaki
In April, Huhtamaki agreed to purchase Jiangsu Hihio-Art Packaging, a manufacturer of paper bags, wraps and folding carton packaging in China, in a €27 million debt-free transaction.
With the acquisition, Huhtamaki aimed to strengthen its leading position as a foodservice packaging provider in Asia and expand its portfolio in China to better serve existing and new customers in the market.
Jiangsu Hihio-Art Packaging serves international quick-service restaurants, bakeries and patisseries, cafés and supermarkets with its range of products such as baking paper moulds, paper bags, sandwich boxes, pastry boxes and disposable trays.
Upon completion, Jiangsu Hihio-Art Packaging would fall under Huhtamaki’s Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania reporting segment.
Risk Capital Partners acquires UK-based Curious Brewery
Also in April, UK wine producer Chapel Down offloaded Curious Brewery to private equity firm Risk Capital Partners, as it refocused on its core wine business.
Curious Brewery offers four core brews: lager, session IPA, cider and porter. The company’s alcohol range is served across the UK in hotels, bars and restaurants, department stores such as Harrods and Selfridges, as well as Waitrose stores and art venues including The Royal Opera House.
Following the acquisition, Risk Capital Partners said it planned to invest in a new bottling and canning line, as well as increased support for the sales and marketing functions.
The deal saw Curious Brewery’s staff move across to the new setup; however, Risk Capital Partners appointed a new management team to lead the business into the next phase in its development.
Bain Capital Private Equity buys Dessert Holdings
Bain Capital Private Equity signed an agreement to acquire Dessert Holdings, a North American premium dessert company, from its owner of five years Gryphon Investors.
The deal – which was made for an undisclosed sum – enabled Dessert Holdings to accelerate its growth and expansion.
Upon completion, Dessert Holdings planned to continue to operate under its current management team led by CEO Paul Lapadat.
“We are focused on building the leading premium dessert company in North America by bringing innovative, chef-inspired dessert products to our retail and foodservice customers,” said Lapadat.
Aryzta sells Brazil businesses to Grupo Bimbo
In the summer, Aryzta agreed to divest its Brazil businesses to Grupo Bimbo in a strategic move to simplify its operations.
As part of the announcement, the bakery group reiterated its commitment to the European and Asian markets, following the sale of its North American business to an affiliate of Lindsay Goldberg earlier in the year.
“The successful sale of the Brazil businesses is a further positive step in the delivery of our strategy to rebuild Aryzta’s leadership in bakery in Europe and Asia,” said Aryzta chairman Urs Jordi.
Nestlé acquires The Bountiful Company’s core supplement brands
Nestlé acquired core vitamin and supplement brands of The Bountiful Company from investment firm KKR for $5.75 billion, as it looked to expand its health and nutrition portfolio.
The Bountiful Company is a US manufacturer of vitamins, minerals, herbal and other speciality supplements and active nutrition products.
The deal included brands such as Nature’s Bounty, Solgar, Osteo Bi-Flex and Puritan’s Pride, as well as the company’s US private label business.
The plans were for the brands to be integrated into Nestlé Health Science – joining its existing brands including Garden of Life, Vital Proteins, Persona Nutrition, Pure Encapsulations and Genestra.
The acquisition marked another move by Nestlé to grow its health portfolio.
Danone finalises divestiture of China Mengniu stake
In May, Danone finalised the sale of its approximately 9.8% minority stake in Chinese dairy business China Mengniu Dairy for €1.6 billion.
The French company announced back in March its intentions to convert and sell the stake, as part of an ongoing portfolio review process.
Under the terms of the agreement, the majority of the proceeds were to be returned to shareholders through a share buyback programme, with further details to be announced.
Unilever to grow supplements offering with Onnit acquisition
Lastly, Unilever agreed to acquire US supplements brand and lifestyle company, Onnit, as it continued to expand its consumer health offerings.
Based in Austin, Texas, Onnit features a range of supplements that aim to improve cognitive function, mood and relaxation, gut health and immunity support. Its portfolio also features protein powders, protein snacks, fats and oils, as well as coffee.
The acquisition marked Unilever’s latest efforts to expand its activities within the holistic health market and came a few months after it signed an agreement to buy SmartyPants Vitamins.
“Onnit is a leading brand in the fast-growing nootropics segment. With its holistic health offering and digital-first model, Onnit perfectly complements our growing portfolio of innovative wellness and supplement brands that include Olly, Equilibra, Liquid IV and SmartyPants Vitamins,” said Peter ter Kulve, president of home care and health & wellbeing at Unilever.
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