Transaction activity in the nutrition and health and wellness industry leveled off in the first half of 2018 after four years of dramatic growth, with the number of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) down 10 percent on an annualized basis and financings up 3 percent compared to 2017, according to the Nutrition Capital Network (NCN) Transaction Database. Total transactions—both M&As and financings—tallied 443 in the first half of 2018 compared to 908 in 2017, a decline of 2 percent this year using an annualized rate based on first half data.
“Given the exceptionally steep double-digit growth rates of the last three years, it’s hardly surprising to see that the nutrition and health and wellness industry cannot sustain the pace of growth in M&A and financing transactions, but it is important to note that 2018 is still on track to outperform 2015 and 2016 in terms of number of deals struck,” said Grant Ferrier, NCN managing director.
Pet food dominated NCN’s top 10 list of M&As in the first half of 2018, led by General Mills’ acquisition of Blue Buffalo Pet Products for $8 billion. Large dietary supplement deals also made headlines, with Procter & Gamble acquiring Merck’s consumer healthcare business, including prominent European supplement brands, and Clorox acquiring Nutranext and its line of U.S. supplement brands, headed by Rainbow Light in the natural retail channel. Beverages dominated the top 10 financing transactions in the Branded Food & Beverage segment and also made the top 10 M&A list, with Molson Coors acquiring Clearly Kombucha, a former NCN Presenting Company.
The NCN Transaction Database tracks activity in seven major industry categories: Branded Food & Beverage (natural/organic/functional); Supplements; Ingredients; Contract Manufacturing; OTC & Personal Care; Retail & Distribution; Technology (delivery, apps, e-commerce, etc.); and several subcategories. The database and full analysis is available to NCN’s 50+ Cornerstone Investor members and sponsors.
Cornerstone Investor members also receive bi-annual reports from NCN’s Dealflow Database and NCN’s Presenter Tracking Database, which follows the progress of the 685 companies that have presented their business plans in person at NCN Investor Meetings since 2007. The database includes such companies as ZICO, Plum Organics, Food Should Taste Good, Gaia Herbs, Marrone Innovation, Rustic Crust, Zola, Annie’s, Suja, Runa, Angie’s and many others. Fifty-six percent of NCN presenting companies have completed some kind of transaction as a direct or indirect result of an NCN meeting.
Five NCN meetings, presenting 15-25 professionally screened and curated nutrition and health & wellness companies, have been scheduled:
- NCN Ingredients & Technology Investor Meeting X at SupplySide West, Nov. 7, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
- NCN XXIII, San Francisco, Nov. 27-28, 2018, Golden Gate Club, San Francisco
- NCN XXIV, New York, April 16-17, 2019
- NCN Europe VI, May 6, 2019, Starling Hotel, Geneva, Switzerland
- NCN-NPC Canada III, June 2019, Toronto