Brynwood Partners has formed Great Kitchens Food Company to acquire the North American take-and-bake pizza business of ARYZTA.
Great Kitchens is a private label maker of take-and-bake pizza and flatbreads that are sold to grocery, club, and mass retailers, as well as into foodservice outlets nationally.
Great Kitchens, with total employment of about 700, operates a 155,000 sq. ft. pizza topping plant near Chicago in Romeoville, Illinois (headquarters) and a 165,000 sq. ft. pizza crust manufacturing facility in Chicago Heights, Illinois.
Brynwood has hired Admir Basic as the company’s new president and chief commercial officer, and Bill Steckel as chief financial officer. Mr. Basic has been with ARYZTA since 2011 most recently as its senior vice president of retail. Earlier, he held several senior positions at Solo Cup, including sales planning and strategy manager and supervisor of pricing analytics. Mr. Steckel was most recently the CFO of Angelica Corporation, a portfolio company of KKR and a provider of healthcare linen and medical laundry services.
“We are thrilled to announce the creation of Great Kitchens,” said Henk Hartong III, the chairman and CEO of Brynwood. “We are excited to return to the private label pizza space with this new investment. Our prior investment in the private label frozen pizza space with Richelieu Foods was very successful and we are confident in the prospects for Great Kitchens. We look forward to bringing a significant level of investment in new products and recipe innovations to our retail partners through our best-in-class facilities.”
Richelieu Foods, a private label manufacturer of frozen pizza and salad dressings and one of Brynwood’s most successful investments, was a portfolio company of Brynwood’s fifth fund that was acquired in 2005 from Weiss, Peck & Greer, and was sold to Centerview Partners in 2010.
“On behalf of Brynwood Partners, I would like to sincerely thank the ARYZTA team for being such great partners on this carveout. This is the first deal we have done together, and we look forward to continuing our relationship,” said Ian MacTaggart, president, CFO and COO of Brynwood.
Greenwich, Connecticut-based Brynwood is an operationally-focused firm that makes control investments in North American-based lower middle-market companies. The firm targets non-core brands or companies operating exclusively in the consumer sector. Since its founding in 1984, Brynwood has acquired more than 56 brands from 21 different corporate sellers. The formation of Great Kitchens and the buy of ARYZTA’s pizza business was funded through Brynwood Partners VIII LP which closed in January 2018 with $649 million of capital.
Founded in 1897, Zurich-headquartered ARYZTA is one of the largest operators of bakeries in the world and sells its products – including breads, cookies, donuts, pastries, buns, and flatbreads – to the foodservice, retail and quick-service restaurant sectors. The company operates 53 bakeries across Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
BMO Capital Markets was the investment advisor to ARYZTA on this transaction.
© 2020 Private Equity Professional | December 8, 2020