Kroger and Lindsay Goldberg Form PearlRock

The Kroger Co. and Lindsay Goldberg have formed PearlRock Partners to invest in consumer product brands.

According to the two founders, PearlRock will be one of the largest data-driven investment vehicles singularly focused on consumer brands. In order to help emerging consumer brands reach new customers and grow their business, PearlRock (www.pearlrockpartners.com) will leverage Kroger’s merchandising capabilities and predictive analytics along with Lindsay Goldberg’s consumer investing expertise and nearly 20-year track record of investing in and supporting family-owned and founder-led companies.

The new platform will be a part of Kroger’s alternative profit streams portfolio. “We are excited to add PearlRock Partners to our portfolio of high-growth alternative profit businesses that generate additional value from our core grocery business. We are confident this partnership with Lindsay Goldberg will help discover and cultivate new brands that Kroger customers will love,” said Stuart Aitken, Kroger’s senior vice president of alternative business and CEO of 84.51°, a business unit of Kroger. The unusual name 84.51° refers to the longitude of Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters. The 84.51° unit was formed by Kroger in April 2015 when it acquired all of the technology assets of Dunnhumby, a customer data and analytics company, that Kroger co-owned with Tesco.

“We are thrilled to partner with Kroger to help grow tomorrow’s most successful consumer brands alongside the entrepreneurs who built them. Backed by a state-of-the-art predictive data platform, real-world consumer product expertise and unparalleled merchandising resources, these next-gen brands will be poised for growth and offer Kroger’s broad customer base greater choice, convenience and innovation,” said Brian Kelley, a partner at Lindsay Goldberg. Mr. Kelley was previously the CEO of Keurig Green Mountain and President of Coca-Cola’s North American operations.

Lindsay Goldberg manages $13 billion of equity capital and is focused on partnering with family-owned and entrepreneur‐led businesses seeking a partner to help actively build their businesses. The firm was founded in 2001 and is based in New York (www.lindsaygoldbergllc.com).

“Our partnership with Kroger creates an opportunity to invest in the consumer products industry with unique insights and a competitive edge,” said Chris Laitala, a partner at Lindsay Goldberg. “Consistent with our track record of making transformative investments with exceptional industry partners, this strategic relationship with Kroger will provide differentiated sourcing and visibility into evolving consumer preferences and brand performance.”

The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) is one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States with annual revenues of more than $120 billion. The company is headquartered in Cincinnati (www.kroger.com).

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | May 15, 2019

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