Brynwood Partners VII L.P. announced that its majority-owned portfolio company, Harvest Hill Beverage Company, has signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire American Beverage Corporation from Wessanen for approximately $55 million. Based in Stamford, Conn., Harvest Hill was formed in June 2014 to acquire the Juicy Juice® brand from Nestle USA Inc. The ABC transaction is expected to close during the first half of 2015 and is subject to regulatory approval.
Founded in 1960, ABC is a diversified beverage company that is a leading manufacturer and marketer of fruit drinks, ready-to-drink alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic cocktail mixers. The company's brands include the iconic and highly recognizable Little Hug® Fruit Barrels, Big Hug® and Guzzler™ in addition to Daily's® (alcoholic cocktail drinks and mixers). ABC's products are nationally distributed through the grocery, drug, mass, warehouse club and liquor store channels. Additionally, Daily's products are sold through foodservice distributors to bars and restaurants. The company, which has approximately 337 employees, is headquartered in Rye Brook, N.Y., and manufactures its products out of a company-owned, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Verona, Pa., and a leased facility in Phoenix, Ariz.
"We are pleased to announce the acquisition of American Beverage Company," said Henk Hartong, chairman and CEO of Brynwood Partners and Chairman of Harvest Hill. "The Little Hug brand provides Harvest Hill with an entry into the sizeable juice drink category." Mr. Hartong continued, "The addition of Little Hug to our retail juice portfolio enables Harvest Hill to participate in all segments of the juice aisle, strengthening our position with our retail partners. We are also excited about the company's Verona, Pa., and Phoenix, Az., manufacturing facilities as they will provide Harvest Hill with additional production flexibility." The business was founded 55 years ago in Verona, PA as Daily Orange Juice Company, Inc. and many of its original manufacturing capabilities remain in place today.
"We look forward to working with ABC's loyal employee base as we add the company's brands into Harvest Hill," said Sal DePrima, president and CEO of Harvest Hill. "This acquisition makes Harvest Hill one of the largest independently owned juice companies in the U.S. and we plan to build on the momentum that the Little Hug and Daily's business have in the marketplace."
"On behalf of Brynwood Partners and Harvest Hill, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Wessanen and ABC teams for working with us on this pending transaction," said Ian MacTaggart, president and COO of Brynwood Partners. "This marks Harvest Hill's first strategic add-on acquisition since we established the company only eight months ago. A significant investment for our firm, Harvest Hill's acquisition of ABC highlights Brynwood Partners' dedication and commitment to this investment platform as we continue to build upon a leading U.S. beverage franchise."
Brynwood Partners has developed a unique niche in the corporate divestiture segment. In its 31-year history, Brynwood Partners, including the ABC acquisition, will have acquired 45 brands from 16 different corporate sellers. This acquisition represents the third investment by Brynwood Partners VII L.P., the firm's most recently raised fund.