MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, a leading mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisor, served as exclusive financial advisor to Annie's Homegrown, Inc. (Annie's) in a sale of a majority interest in the company to Solera Capital LLC, a private equity firm based in New York. Prior to the closing of the transaction, the majority interest in Annie's was owned by Homegrown Natural Foods, Inc., owner of Consorzio and Fantastic Foods brands. Annie's founder (Ann Withey), Homegrown Natural Foods and Annie's management will retain minority interests in the company. In addition to the majority stake it acquired at closing, Solera Capital plans to invest incremental growth capital into Annie's post-transaction. The transaction was completed on August 9, 2002.
Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Wakefield, Mass., Annie's Homegrown is the preeminent and fastest growing brand in the premium-pasta-meals category. The company's portfolio includes over 25 different varieties of natural and organic pasta meals. Annie's has reported a 27 percent compound- annual-growth-rate in sales over the past three years and, according to industry research, the natural/organic food industry is projected to grow at double-digit rates annually over the next several years. Annie's has attracted an intensely loyal consumer base by providing premium natural and organic pasta products that connect with consumers on a functional, emotional and economical level.
"Annie's is the preeminent brand in the natural and organic macaroni-and- cheese category," said Glenn Gurtcheff, managing director and co-head of the Middle Market M&A Group at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. "Without question, the company is poised to capitalize on an outstanding market opportunity."
"Solera Capital is an ideal partner for Annie's," said Jon Kelly, investment banker in the Middle Market M&A Group at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. "Solera has the resources to further expand the company's distribution in the mainstream grocery channel and also truly appreciates the importance of the brand's grassroots authenticity."
"Natural foods are growing considerably faster than the overall food industry," said John Foraker, CEO of Homegrown Natural Foods. "Annie's, Fantastic Foods and Consorzio are strong brand names that consumers trust and all have tremendous potential in this dynamic market. In addition to providing new capital and resources to Annie's, this transaction enables Homegrown Natural Foods to focus its resources on continuing the growth of its Consorzio and Fantastic Foods brands, and provides capital necessary for us to pursue other complementary acquisitions in the natural food industry."
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