Aurora Capital Partners has acquired Universal Pure, an outsourced provider of high-pressure processing, food safety, and supply chain services to the food industry.
High-pressure processing (HPP) utilizes water and pressure to inactivate food-borne pathogens without the use of chemicals or other additives to ensure the safety and shelf life of food and beverage products without compromising nutritional value, taste, or texture. According to Universal Pure, it is the largest independent provider of HPP services in North America.
Universal Pure operates 20 HPP machines at 7 facilities (with a combined 1.1 million sq. ft.) in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The company’s facilities footprint is located within a truck-day of all major food production hubs in the United States.
Universal Pure’s supply chain services include refrigerated and frozen storage, beverage bottling, kitting and assembly, and bulk defrosting services (tempering). Universal Pure, led by CEO Jeff Williams, was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“Aurora has a well-deserved reputation of partnering with management teams to help accelerate growth,” said Mr. Williams. “We are confident they are the right partner for Universal Pure at this stage of its development, and with their partnership, we are excited to continue adding to the solutions we offer our customers and to execute on our many growth initiatives.”
“Universal Pure has an exceptional track record of growth built around a culture of customer service,” said Randy Moser, a partner at Aurora. “Best-in-class service and a long-tenured track record combined with the largest footprint in North America uniquely positions Universal Pure in a rapidly growing industry. We see significant opportunity to build on that position and the company’s success and look forward to accelerating growth through organic expansion and its experienced acquisition program.”
Aurora Capital makes control investments of $50 million to $300 million in industrial, manufacturing, and service-oriented businesses that are valued between $100 million and $500 million. Specific sectors of interest include industrial services and distribution, engineered products, and technology-enabled services. Aurora Capital was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Los Angeles.
This acquisition of Universal Pure is the eighth investment made by Aurora Equity Partners VI LP, which began investing in September 2020. “Universal Pure is an ideal match for the Aurora program,” said Mark Rosenbaum, a partner at Aurora. “Jeff and his team have built an impressive platform, and we are excited to capitalize on the significant runway that the business has through new and existing relationships with blue chip customers. We are thrilled to be chosen as Universal Pure’s partner at an exciting time in its evolution.”
Twin Brook Capital Partners, as administrative agent, led the debt financing for Aurora’s acquisition of Universal Pure. Chicago-based Twin Brook focuses on loans to private equity-owned companies with EBITDA between $3 million and $50 million, with an emphasis on companies with $25 million of EBITDA and below. The firm targets senior financing opportunities up to $200 million, with hold sizes across the platform ranging from $25 million up to $150 million. Twin Brook’s products include opportunistic investments in second lien, mezzanine, and equity co-investments.
William Blair and Houlihan Lokey were the financial advisors to Universal Pure on this transaction and Harris Williams advised Aurora.
© 2022 Private Equity Professional | November 15, 2022