The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Teachers) has increased its ownership in Shearer’s Snacks by purchasing additional equity from Wind Point Partners. In November 2012, Wind Point and Teachers partnered with C.J. Fraleigh, the former CEO of Sara Lee – North America, to acquire Shearer’s Foods, a manufacturer of private label salty snacks and kettle cooked potato chips.
With the closing of the transaction, Teachers’ now holds a majority ownership in Shearer’s, with company management remaining a meaningful shareholder. Wind Point retains a small interest in Shearer’s.
“Teachers’ welcomes the opportunity to build on our relationship with Shearer’s,” said Jane Rowe, Senior Vice-President of Teachers’ Private Capital. “The company’s strong management team has demonstrated its ability to grow organically and through acquisitions in a sector that continues to have attractive prospects.”
During Teachers’ and Wind Point’s ownership, Shearer’s completed the acquisitions of Lance Private Brands and Medallion Foods, doubling the size of the business and significantly expanding the private label and contract manufacturing product offerings.
Shearer’s Snacks is one of the largest contract manufacturers and private label suppliers of snacks in North America. Products include kettle cooked potato chips, traditional potato chips, tortilla chips, rice crisps, cheese curls and other extruded snacks, and whole grain chips, as well as cookies, crackers, and wafers. Shearer’s operates eight state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Texas, Arkansas, Oregon, Virginia, Iowa, and Ontario. The company is headquartered south of Akron in Massillon, OH (www.shearers.com).
“The Shearer’s story is an example of how Wind Point’s strategy to partner with a top caliber CEO such as CJ can transform a business,” said Mark Burgett, a managing director at Wind Point. “CJ and the entire Shearer’s team did an excellent job executing on our value creation plan, by increasing Shearer’s category management and manufacturing capabilities to help its customers grow, improving productivity and completing add-on acquisitions.”
“We have created significant value over the past two years deepening Shearer’s longstanding relationships with branded companies and retailers by broadening our scope, both through internal initiatives designed to help our customers grow and by expanding our national manufacturing footprint and diversifying our product offerings,” said Mr. Fraleigh. “We are proud of the transformation accomplished while partnering with Wind Point and Teachers’.”
Wind Point Partners invests from $20 million to $70 million of equity in companies with revenues from $100 million to $500 million and EBITDAs of at least $8 million. Industries of interest include business services, consumer products, healthcare and industrial products. The firm has completed more than 90 investments and 161 add-on acquisitions across its seven private equity funds. Wind Point Partners is based in Chicago (www.wppartners.com).
Teachers’ Private Capital is one of the world’s largest private equity investors, having participated as a long-term investor in numerous management buyouts in Canada, the United States and Europe. It is the private investment department of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada. Teachers’ Private Capital is based in Toronto with offices in New York and London (www.teachersprivatecapital.com).
© 2015 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 1-16-15