Wind Point Buys Encore’s VanLaw Food

Stir Foods Group, a portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, has acquired VanLaw Food Products from Encore Consumer Capital.

VanLaw is a contract and private label manufacturer of dressings, sauces, marinades, glazes, and beverage bases serving retail and foodservice customers located in 44 states and 25 countries. The company, led by President John Gilbert, was founded in 1945 by Curtis VanLaw and operates an SQF (Safe Quality Food Institute) certified 300,000 square foot facility in Fullerton, CA (www.vanlaw.com). Encore acquired VanLaw in January 2015. “Through a very productive four-year partnership, Encore helped guide us from a traditional seventy-year-old privately held company to a successful private equity owned business,” said Mr. Gilbert. “Encore was instrumental in providing guidance, vision and experience to help us through what can be a disruptive transition.”

“It has been a great pleasure for us at Encore to have partnered with John Gilbert and the talented team at VanLaw,” said Scott Sellers, a managing director of Encore. “Under John’s leadership, VanLaw experienced strong growth as a result of expanded capacity and the addition of new product lines to support its customer base. VanLaw is positioned for continued growth as part of Stir Foods.”

“The combination of VanLaw and Stir is highly complementary and will enable us to better serve our combined customer bases through enhanced R&D and new packaging formats,” said Milt Liu, CEO of Stir. “Additionally, VanLaw’s facility in Fullerton is well-invested with a good workforce and capacity to continue to grow. This is an excellent addition for Stir.”

Wind Point partnered with Mr. Liu to acquire Pacifica Foods and Stir Foods, two California-based custom food manufacturers, in December 2017. Today, Stir Foods Group is a custom manufacturer of soups, sauces, dressings, and fresh salsas for both retail and foodservice customers. The company is headquartered in Orange, CA and operates five SQF production facilities (www.stirfoods.com).

The buy of VanLaw is the second add-on acquisition for Stir under Wind Point ownership and follows the acquisition of Sabra Dipping Company’s salsa business based in Oceanside, CA in September 2018.

“The acquisition of VanLaw fits squarely with our value creation plan,” said Joe Lawler, a principal with Wind Point. “This investment will accelerate our ability to grow with our customers through more diversified manufacturing capabilities and a commitment to continued investment in innovation. We look forward to continuing to build the platform into a national leader.”

Wind Point invests from $50 million to $100 million in companies with EBITDAs of at least $10 million. Industries of interest include business services, consumer products and industrial products. In June 2017, Wind Point held a final closing of its eighth fund, Wind Point Partners VIII LP, with $985 million of capital commitments. The fund exceeded its initial hard cap of $750 million and is the largest fund closing in Wind Point’s history. The firm was founded in 1984 and is based in Chicago (www.wppartners.com).

Encore Consumer Capital invests exclusively in consumer products companies that have revenues between $10 million and $100 million and where it can utilize its own consumer experience and the expertise of its operating partners at Encore Associates, a strategic advisory firm to the consumer products industry. Encore was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in San Francisco (www.EncoreConsumerCapital.com).

Harris Williams (www.harriswilliams.com) was the financial advisor to VanLaw.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | April 3, 2019

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