Vestar Takes Minority Stake in Simple Mills

Vestar Capital Partners has agreed to make a minority investment in natural foods company Simple Mills.

Simple Mills is a provider of more than 30 baking mixes, crackers, cookies, bars and frostings that are free of gluten, grains, soy and genetically modified ingredients. According to the company, it is the number one clean-label baking mix and cracker brand and the number three cookie brand in the natural foods channel.

Simple Mill’s products are distributed in more than 16,000 stores including Whole Foods, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, and Target. The company was founded in 2012 by CEO Katlin Smith and is based in Chicago (

Vestar will assist Simple Mills with new product development, brand-building and distribution expansion. “Simple Mills has helped shape the next generation natural food movement, fundamentally changing consumers’ concept of healthy food,” said Winston Song, a managing director of Vestar. “We are excited to partner with Katlin, a true visionary in this space, to grow the company as it develops new products and enters new categories in the cleaner food category while staying true to Simple Mills’ brand promise.”

“Vestar is fully aligned with our vision of improving Americans’ eating habits, has the CPG expertise and connections to help us take the company to the next level,” said Ms. Smith. “Vestar’s investment also allows us to continue operating as an independent entity with the same strict clean-food principles that have driven our growth. It’s an ideal match that gives us new resources to expand our footprint and influence on the clean-food movement.”

Vestar specializes in management buyouts and growth capital investments. The firm targets equity investments from $50 million to $150 million in middle-market companies with enterprise values ranging from $250 million to $1 billion. Sectors of interest include consumer; business services and healthcare. Since Vestar’s founding in 1988, the firm has completed more than 80 investments in companies – as well as more than 200 add-on acquisitions – with a total value of more than $50 billion. Vestar has offices in New York, Boston, and Denver (

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | October 7, 2019

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