Tengram Closes Buy of High Ridge Brands

Tengram Capital Partners has closed its buy of the hair care and skin cleansing business of High Ridge Brands, a portfolio company of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

Stamford, Connecticut-based High Ridge Brands was formed by Brynwood Partners in December 2010 to purchase the North American Zest personal cleansing brand from Procter & Gamble and to serve as a platform for further acquisitions in the personal care consumer segment. During its ownership term, Brynwood closed five add-ons including the buys of the Alberto VO5 brand in the US and Puerto Rico and the Rave brand worldwide from Unilever (August 2011); the Coast soap brand globally from Henkel (April 2012); the White Rain brand globally from Sun Products (July 2012); several small personal care brands from Newhall Laboratories (May 2015); and Continental Fragrances, the owner of the worldwide Salon Grafix and High Beams brands (October 2015).

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) acquired High Ridge from Brynwood in June 2016. In December 2016, under CD&R ownership, High Ridge acquired Dr. Fresh, a California-based provider of oral care products under the REACH (toothbrushes), Firefly (mouthwashes), and Binaca (breath fresheners) brands, from NexPhase Capital. In December 2019, High Ridge filed for bankruptcy protection after a pre-bankruptcy sales process launched in September 2019 failed to find a buyer for the business.

In February, High Ridge announced an agreement to sell its hair care and skin cleansing business, including the Zest, Alberto VO5, Coast, White Rain, and Rave brands, to Tengram; and its oral care business, which includes the REACH, Firefly, and Dr. Fresh brands, to publicly traded Perrigo (NYSE: PRGO). The sale of the oral care business to Perrigo closed last week.

“We are excited to be closed on this transaction and focused on running our business with Tengram Capital,” said James Daniels, president and CEO of High Ridge. Mr. Daniels was High Ridge’s CEO from 2011 to 2017 and he now returns to the company in partnership with Tengram. “While we are in unprecedented times, our strategy is clear and focused. We plan to reinvest in our team, strengthen the relationships across our supply chain, and ensure that customer service is once again priority one. Further, as the country unites to fight the Coronavirus, we plan to step up and do our part as well. This means ensuring that our supply chains remain efficient and our soap products specifically are getting into the hands of consumers and those medical providers on the front lines.”

The buy of the hair care and skin cleansing business establishes a new platform investment for Tengram in the consumer-focused hair and skin category. Tengram partnered with Hilco, Inc., an affiliate of Hilco Global to acquire the company.

“The closing of the acquisition of High Ridge’s hair care and skin cleansing brands begins a new chapter for the company; zero debt, cash on the balance sheet, along with unlevered working capital provides the ammunition to re-establish its market position and pursue large scale growth opportunities,” said William Sweedler, co-founder and managing partner at Tengram. “Despite greater global economic uncertainty today, our brands are core to our customers and thus well-positioned to build momentum as we invest in product development and marketing, re-establishing High Ridge Brands as a leader in the consumer space.”

Tengram invests in companies in the branded consumer products and retail sectors. The firm was founded in 2010 and has offices in Westport, Connecticut and New York City.

New York City and London-based CD&R invests in European and US-based businesses. Since founding in 1978, the firm has invested $28 billion in 86 companies across a range of industries including numerous consumer health and medical device businesses.

© 2020 Private Equity Professional | April 7, 2020

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