Ardian Invests in MidOcean’s Florida Food
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Ardian Invests in MidOcean’s Florida Food

MidOcean acquired Florida Food in September 2018 and will maintain an equity interest in the business in partnership with Ardian

Florida Food produces vegetable and fruit-based ingredients used in beverages, meats, soups, sauces, and dressings.

SOURCE: Florida Food Products

Ardian has acquired a majority equity interest in Florida Food Products (FFP) from MidOcean Partners at an enterprise valuation of $1 billion.

Florida Food is a formulator and manufacturer of vegetable and fruit-based ingredients used in beverages; processed and cured meats; soups, sauces, and dressings; and pet food. The company, led by CEO Jim Holdreith, was founded in 1954 as a provider of orange juice concentrates and today is headquartered near Orlando in Eustis, Florida.

MidOcean acquired FFP in September 2018 from Kainos Capital, and MidOcean will maintain a minority equity interest in the business in partnership with Ardian. During its ownership term, Mid Ocean added on to FFP with the August 2020 buy of Amelia Bay, a Georgia-based provider of brewed tea and coffee extracts. MidOcean was also actively building out FFP’s infrastructure and expanding its product development capabilities.

“Since our initial investment in 2018, FFP has demonstrated exceptional growth and broadened its business as a result of significant investments in the team, its infrastructure, and M&A,” said Steven Loeffler, a vice president at MidOcean. “Our strategic initiatives have accelerated growth while enhancing the product quality and offering, as well as the company’s service levels. We have enjoyed a highly successful partnership with Jim Holdrieth and the entire executive team at FFP over the past three years, and we look forward to continuing this partnership alongside Ardian.”

“We have deep expertise and an extensive network in the ingredient sector, which we will leverage to support the company’s global expansion strategy,” said Christopher Sand, a managing director at Ardian.  “FFP is an impressive organization with tremendous growth opportunities and a wide range of capabilities, reflecting the successful implementation of MidOcean and management’s ambitious growth strategy. Our investment in FFP comes after more than two years of dialogue with MidOcean and reflects our shared vision for the business.”

“FFP plays a critical role in the development and formulations of clean label food products for today’s consumer,” said Thibault Basquin, the head of Americas investments at Ardian. “FFP’s pipeline of innovative natural ingredients will significantly expand the selection of natural products available to consumers in both the retail and food-service channels. By combining Ardian’s global reach and sector experience with MidOcean’s deep knowledge of the space and proven ability to implement transformative strategies, Florida Food Products will accelerate its long-term strategic plan while offering its customers and consumers best-in-class products.”

Paris-headquartered Ardian (formerly Axa Private Equity) was founded in 1996 by Dominique Senequier and is one of the largest European-headquartered private equity firms with more than 780 employees and $114 billion of assets under management. Since expanding into the United States in 2019, Ardian’s U.S. buyout team has invested more than $1.2 billion of equity in three platforms.

MidOcean invests in middle-market companies that are active in the business and consumer services sectors. In September 2018, the firm held a final close of its latest fund, MidOcean Partners V LP, at its hard cap of $1.2 billion in limited partner commitments. The new fund was oversubscribed and closed above its original $1 billion target. MidOcean was founded in 2003 and is based in New York City.

Houlihan Lokey is the financial advisor to MidOcean on this transaction which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | September 22, 2021

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