Aterian Carves Out Chicken and Turkey Biz

Aterian Investment Partners has acquired Hain Pure Protein for $80 million in a carve-out transaction from The Hain Celestial Group.

Hain Pure Protein is comprised of two businesses, Empire Kosher and FreeBird. Mifflintown, PA-based Empire Kosher (EK), founded in 1938, is the largest fresh kosher poultry (chicken and turkey) provider in the United States and provides deli meats and other processed convenience foods to the club, mass and grocery channels. EK also sells its products under the Kosher Valley brand which it acquired in 2010 (www.empirekosher.com). Fredericksburg, PA-based FreeBird, is a certified organic and antibiotic-free chicken provider to the foodservice, retail and home-delivered meal channels (www.freebirdchicken.com).

“This transaction enables our strong management team and all dedicated employees at Empire Kosher and FreeBird to focus on innovation and growth with an ownership team committed to investing in these businesses, leading to improved operations and performance,” said Jeff Brown, CEO of Hain Pure Protein. “We are looking forward to Aterian’s support in helping the company pursue growth initiatives, enhancing current relationships and continue to provide the highest quality products and services to our customers and ultimately the consumer.”

“We are excited to add Empire Kosher and FreeBird to the Aterian portfolio and are excited for the opportunity to collaborate with management as the company enters its next chapter,” said Brandon Bethea, co-founder and a partner at Aterian. “We intend to facilitate management’s efforts to invest in key growth initiatives such as developing new products, expanding into new geographies and building out enhanced production capabilities.  Through these investments we will support the company’s well-earned reputation for outstanding, high-quality products and leading customer service, further positioning the business for robust growth.”

Aterian invests up to $65 million in small-to-middle market businesses with $25 million to $500 million in revenues. The firm’s sectors of interest are wide and include manufacturing, distribution, chemicals, metals and mining, industrials, retail, consumer products, restaurants, food and beverage, and health care services. Aterian held a first and final closing of Aterian Investment Partners III LP with $350 million of committed capital in July 2018.

“We are enthusiastic about partnering with the team at Empire Kosher and FreeBird,” said George Zahringer, a principal at Aterian. “Throughout the process, we have come to appreciate the leading positions that these brands occupy in their respective markets and how strongly they are aligned with consumer needs, preferences and trends. We look forward to working closely with management to execute on our shared strategic vision.”

Aterian was founded in 2009 by Brandon Bethea, Michael Fieldstone and Christopher Thomas and is based in New York (www.aterianpartners.com).

The Hain Celestial Group (NASDAQ: HAIN) is a provider of foods and personal care products including herbal teas, whole grain foods, and protein products. The company was founded in 1993 and is headquartered on Long Island in Lake Success, NY (www.hain-celestial.com).

Centerview Partners was the financial advisor to Hain Celestial.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | July 1, 2019

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