Nautic Partners Exits Big Train

Nautic Partners Exits Big Train

Nautic Partners has completed the sale of Big Train, a manufacturer and marketer of liquid and powdered beverage concentrates, to Kerry Group.

“Our partnership with Nautic was a tremendously positive experience,” said Robyn Hawkins, former Chief Executive Officer of Big Train. “With Nautic we expanded our relationships with multiple key customers, acquired substantial new business, and positioned the company for strong growth in the coming years.”

Big Train is a manufacturer and marketer of liquid and powdered beverage concentrates used for blended ice coffee, fruit smoothies, chai tea, cocoa drinks and various syrups. The company distributes its products through multiple channels, including independent coffeehouses, large retail chains, and international distributors. Coffeehouses sell the company’s product under the “Big Train” brand as well as under private label. The company is headquartered in Lake Forest, CA (

“Our experience working alongside the Big Train management team has been excellent,” said Bernie Buonanno, Managing Director of Nautic. “The strength of the company’s leadership and the high quality of its products are reflected in its double-digit growth over the last few years.”

Nautic Partners is a middle-market private equity firm with over $2.5 billion of equity capital under management. Nautic targets majority equity investments of $25 million to $75 million. Sectors of interest include business services, manufacturing, and healthcare. Nautic is currently investing its most recent fund, Nautic Partners VI, a $780 million fund which closed in June 2008. The firm was founded in 1986 and is located in Providence, RI (

The Big Train sale was Nautic’s fourth liquidity event since November 2012. The three other exits were GCA Services Group to The Blackstone Group, Aavid Thermalloy to Audax Private Equity, and Agilex Fragrances to MidOcean Partners.

Kerry Group is a food ingredients and flavoring company serving the food and beverage industry. The company supplies over 15,000 food, food ingredients and flavor products to customers in more than 140 countries worldwide. Kerry Group employs over 24,000 people throughout its facilities in Europe, North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Current annualized sales of the company are approximately €5.8 billion. Kerry Group is headquartered in Tralee, Ireland (

© 2013 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 2-27-13

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