Brynwood Partners VI LP has sold Balance Bar Company (Valhalla, N.Y.) to NBTY Inc. (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.), a leading dietary supplements manufacturer and retailer. The transaction was pegged at around $78 million or a return of about 2.5 times Brynwood's investment, according to a source cited by The Wall Street Journal. Balance Bar was founded in 1992, went public in 1998, and was sold to Kraft for $268 million in 2000 (the same year Nestlé bought PowerBar). By the mid-2000s the nutrition bar market had become increasingly crowded and competitive, and the company’s sales declined precipitously. In 2009 Kraft sold Balance Bar to Brynwood for an undisclosed amount reported to be less than a fifth of what Kraft had paid. NBTY is the leading U.S. supplement manufacturer with 2012 sales of $3 billion and owns the sports nutrition oriented MET-Rx and Pure Protein nutrition bars. Balance Bars are based on the nutrition model popularized by Barry Sears’ Zone diet (40 carb/30 protein/30 dietary fat). According to Nutrition Business Journal, U.S. sales of nutrition bars, energy gels and chews reached $2.8 billion in 2011, up 13%. In August 2012, Brynwood announced a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Kraft’s Back to Nature brand.
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