San Francisco-based middle market private equity firm Gryphon Investors has acquired a majority equity interest in C. B. Fleet Company (DBA Fleet Laboratories). Fleet’s management team, along with several additional investors, will hold minority stakes alongside Gryphon.
Upon closing of the transaction, Steve LaMonte, a Gryphon advisor and a senior executive with experience in both over-the-counter and personal healthcare businesses, assumed the position of Chairman of the Board of Fleet. Mr. LaMonte’s past experience includes leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Schering-Plough. Fleet’s current CEO Jeff Rowan and the rest of the senior management team will remain with the company post closing.
Fleet Laboratories is a consumer healthcare manufacturer and marketer of personal care and over-the-counter products in the feminine hygiene, gastrointestinal, and infant care categories. The company’s product lines include Summer’s Eve feminine hygiene products, the Fleet disposable enema, Norforms feminine deodorant suppositories, Pedia-Lax laxatives for children, Phazyme anti-gas medication, and the Boudreaux’s brand of baby products. Fleet Laboratories was founded in 1869 and is based in Lynchburg, VA (www.cbfleet.com).
Gryphon has been searching for the right acquisition in the over-the-counter sector for several years, believing that the sector will see strong growth, specifically in the feminine hygiene sub-category. “Fleet Laboratories has a commanding position in the over-the-counter and personal healthcare product areas, which we have closely followed for several years,” said Dennis O’Brien, a partner at Gryphon. “We believe the over-the-counter sector is poised for continued expansion as consumers migrate toward more economical non-prescription products and that Fleet has unique and differentiated capabilities to serve these markets. Additionally, the company’s strong brand advantage in the personal healthcare segment under the leading feminine hygiene brand, Summer’s Eve, is a springboard for strong future growth.”
Gryphon intends to grow Fleet both organically and through add-on acquisitions. “Fleet Laboratories is a true platform that provides an excellent opportunity from which to make numerous add-on acquisitions in desirable categories,” said Keith Stimson, a Gryphon partner. “Fleet has a long history of innovation and responsiveness to customer needs, which is coupled with a growing acceptance and awareness of over-the-counter and personal healthcare products among consumers, resulting in a well-run company with a bright future.”
Golub Capital was the Sole Lead Arranger and Administrative Agent on a senior credit facility to support the acquisition of Fleet Laboratories (click HERE to see related story).
Houlihan Lokey acted as exclusive financial advisor to Gryphon and TM Capital acted as exclusive financial advisor to Fleet on the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal advisor to Gryphon and Hunton & Williams and Edmunds & Williams were the legal advisors to Fleet Laboratories.
2014 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 10-26-14