Lariat Sells Jacent to Gridiron

Lariat Partners has sold Jacent, a distributor and merchandiser of non-edible, general merchandise impulse items sold through grocery stores and other retail channels, to Gridiron Capital.

Jacent sources, warehouses, ships, and stocks over 3,500 impulse items to more than 15,000 grocery stores across the US and Canada. In addition to its impulse products business, Jacent also offers retail merchandising audits and shelf stocking services to help stores run more efficiently.

Jacent creates impulse items merchandising plans for each store – then places the ideal impulse items in the ideal locations (the company’s ice cream scoops are racked next to freezers and pet toys are racked adjacent to pet food), with follow-up re-ordering and re-stocking.

The company’s impulse items include baby products (wipes, baby bottles, sippy cups); barware (corkscrews, bottle openers, party napkins); beverage (cups and straws); cleaning supplies (wipes, spray bottles, sponges and brushes); kitchen gadgets (measuring spoons, cook timers, citrus squeezers); health and beauty (hair brushes, eyeglass cleaner, dental floss); housewares (soap savers, steak knives, ice cream scoopers, pizza cutters); pet supplies (hair brushes and combs, collars, and chew toys); and toys (action figures, stuffed animals, and batteries).

Jacent was formed in 2016 by the merger of LaMi Products and ATA Retail Services, two impulse merchandising companies that had a combined 60 years of operating experience. Lariat acquired LaMi Products in September 2015 and then completed the add-on acquisition of ATA Retail Services in March 2016. The combined company was renamed Jacent and is led by CEO Michael Dion and President Larry Dion (the two bothers co-founded LaMi in 1986). Jacent is based near Philadelphia in Huntingdon Valley, PA with an additional headquarters office near San Francisco in Pleasanton, CA (www.jacentretail.com).

“Jacent’s outstanding customer service and entrepreneurial culture made for a great platform for transformative growth,” said Jay Coughlon, co-founder and managing director of Lariat Partners. “Michael and his team have been phenomenal partners.  As retailers continue to seek new avenues for sales growth, particularly with displacement from e-commerce, Jacent has become an increasingly important partner.  We are very pleased with the outcome of this successful investment and believe the company will continue its strong momentum with Gridiron Capital.”

Lariat invests in lower middle market companies that have EBITDA of $2 million to $20 million. The firm targets companies across several industries including consumer products and services, energy and environmental services, food and agribusiness, specialty distribution, and industrial services. The firm was founded in January 2013 and is based in Denver (www.lariatpartners.net).

“Since our partnership with Lariat we have more than doubled our revenue, become the market leader in grocery impulse merchandising, and are well-positioned to expand our growth strategy into new channels and beyond North America,” said Michael Dion. “We anticipate close collaboration with Gridiron Capital and look forward to working with them to continue our momentum.”

“Jacent’s scale and one-stop merchandising solutions create a differentiated, high-value outsourced services platform with exciting growth opportunities,” said Kevin Jackson, a managing partner at Gridiron. “We believe that combining co-founders Michael and Larry Dion’s winning track-record and passion for the business with Gridiron’s capabilities and resources will create an even stronger platform.”

Gridiron Capital invests in manufacturing, service and specialty consumer companies that have EBITDAs from $8 million to $50 million. Sectors of interest include branded consumer, B2B and B2C services, and niche industrial. In October 2016, Gridiron held a final closing of the firm’s third fund, Gridiron Capital Fund III LP, at the hard cap of $850 million. Gridiron Capital is based in New Canaan, CT (www.gridironcapital.com).

Twin Brook Capital Partners (www.twincp.com) led the debt financing for this transaction along with MidCap Financial (www.midcapfinancial.com) and Hamilton Lane (www.hamiltonlane.com).

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | April 26, 2019

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