Pfizer goes for Alacer
In February, pharma giant Pfizer announced its acquisition of privately-held Alacer
, maker of the top-selling vitamin C brand, Emergen-C. NBJ estimates place the deal at $360 million, as Alacer became another desirable feather in Pfizer's growing, billlion-dollar supplement cap. The Alacer deal would lead quickly to a comparable deal in the immunity category--Schiff's acquisition of Airborne.
DSM strikes again ... twice
It's getting hard to keep up with the dealflow at DSM. After making waves in recent years with its acquisition of Martek, the global ingredients leader snatched up Ocean Nutrition Canada for $530 million and then Fortitech for $634 million
. This provides DSM even greater purchase in omega-3 supply and premixes and blends.
General Mills adds Food Should Taste Good to Small Planet
General Mills added fuel to its Small Planets division--home to Cascadian Farm, LARABAR and Muir Glen--with the February acquisition of Food Should Taste Good. NBJ estimates place the deal's enterprise value around $150 million, another successful exit of a natural snacks brand into the hands of conventional CPGs.
Sprouts takes Sunflower
And natural retail strikes again, as Sprouts and Sunflower Farmers Markets reunited in May for an estimated $275 million merger. This deal served as a clear continuation of the Apollo Group's--owner of Sprouts--consolidation strategy in natural grocery. In 2011, Sprouts landed Henry's and the retailer now encompasses 144 locations nationwide.
Campbell bites into carrots
Campbell made its largest acquisition ever with the purchase of Bolthouse Farms for $1.5 billion in July. Bolthouse is almost a full century old and a leading brand in carrots, premium beverages and salad dressings. The move gets Campbell out of its shelf-stable box toward packaged fresh food, a category with much stronger growth potential.
P&G acquires New Chapter
Procter & Gamble landed in the supplement arena with an unexpected announcement in March--its acquisition of New Chapter
, an industry leader with 30 years of mission-based, high-quality product success in the natural channel. NBJ estimates put the deal at approximately $134 million, but more important than the price would be the transaction's rekindling of that ongoing debate about the possibility of mission and quality surviving in the land of Big CPGs. Criticism of the deal was loud and immediate, especially from the natural channel, but only time will tell how well P&G manages the brand transition to mass and a broader, perhaps international, audience.
Monitor Clipper sells Earth Fare to Oak Hill
Natural retail has all the fun, doesn't it. As Whole Foods Market and leading regional chains continue to outperform, it came as little surprise to see Earth Fare make headlines. Oak Hill Capital Partners bought an 80% stake in the business from Monitor Clipper in April for what NBJ estimates as a $300 million enterprise value. The owners retain a 20% stake in the business.
The Annie's IPO
On March 27, BNNY debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, raising $109 million for Annie's in a bellweather offering that re-opened the public markets to natural products leaders of scale. The IPO was successful enough--Annie's quickly rose from $19 to nigh $50 per share--to prompt a secondary offering of $142 million. Annie's is well positioned as a transition brand between natural and mass
with a strong and committed customer base of moms in search of healthier family fare.
Reckitt Benckiser outbids Bayer for Schiff
Talk about drama! After Bayer bid $34 per share for Schiff Nutrition--maker of the popular krill oil supplement MegaRed, a top seller at Costco--a few activist law firms cried foul over the purchase price and threatened class-action suits. Before the ink could dry, Reckitt Benckiser, a UK CPG strong in OTC and hygiene, stepped in with $1.4 billion and $42 per share. There's no better evidence of the froth developing in nutrition M&A
than this deal, with multiples on Schiff exceeding 30X off EBITDA.
The Natural Grocers IPO
On the heels of Annie's IPO, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage--a quirky, small-store retailer of natural & organic food with supplements to boot--priced a $123 million offering. The IPO landed at $15 per share and provided further indication of the strong appetite for nutrition players in the public markets.