Brynwood Serves It Up Chicago Style with Buy of Uno Foods

Brynwood Serves It Up Chicago Style with Buy of Uno Foods

The Pizzeria Uno brand dates to 1943 when the first Chicago-style deep dish pizza restaurant was founded by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo

Uno Foods manufactures and distributes frozen and refrigerated branded pizzas, calzones, entrees, and appetizers.

SOURCE: Getty Images

Great Kitchens Food Company, a portfolio company of Brynwood Partners, has acquired the Uno Foods division of Uno Restaurant Holdings from its owner, Newport Global Advisors.

Uno Foods manufactures and distributes frozen and refrigerated branded pizzas, calzones, entrees, and appetizers. The company’s products are sold in more than 6,000 grocery stores, wholesale club, foodservice, and e-commerce channels.

Source: Uno Foods

Uno Foods manufactures all its products from its 40,000 sq. ft. facility in Brockton, Massachusetts.

The seller of Uno Foods, Uno Restaurant Holdings (URH), is the owner of the Pizzeria Uno chain of casual dining restaurants which serve deep-dish and thin pizza, salads, sandwiches, pasta, and burgers. The first Pizzeria Uno location was opened in Chicago in 1943 by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo at the corner of Ohio Street and Wabash Avenue and is the undisputed birthplace of Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Today, URH’s more than 50 franchised and 30 company-owned restaurants are located in 17 states. URH founded its Uno Foods division in 1988 to produce and distribute the company’s pizza crusts and other food products to its restaurants and food service customers.

In January 2010, URH filed for Chapter 11 protection and emerged from bankruptcy in July 2010 with a new majority owner, Twin Haven Capital Partners. Newport Global Advisors acquired URH from Twin Haven in May 2017.

Great Kitchens was formed by Brynwood, with equity from Brynwood Partners VIII LP, in December 2020 to acquire the North American take-and-bake pizza business of Zurich-headquartered ARYZTA, one of the largest operators of bakeries in the world.

Great Kitchens manufactures take-and-bake pizzas and flatbreads that are sold nationally to grocery, club, and mass retailers, as well as to foodservice companies. The company, led by President and CEO Admir Basic, has more than 800 employees and operates two facilities near Chicago; a 165,000 sq. ft. crust facility in Chicago Heights, and a 155,000 sq. ft. toppings facility in Romeoville.

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Uno Foods into Great Kitchens Food Company,” said Henk Hartong, the chairman and CEO of Brynwood Partners. “Great Kitchens employs over 800 people in its Chicago-based plants and corporate headquarters in Chicago Heights and Romeoville. We are delighted to add the iconic Pizzeria Uno brand to our frozen portfolio. We welcome the Brockton facility to our business and look forward to making investments into that location as we work to expand the reach of the Pizzeria Uno brand.”

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. Brynwood’s eighth fund closed in January 2018 with $649 million of capital and the firm is currently raising its ninth fund.

In addition to Great Kitchens, the current Brynwood portfolio includes Harvest Hill Beverage Company, Carolina Beverage Group, Hometown Food Company, and Buitoni Food Company. The buy of Uno Foods increases the total Brynwood manufacturing network to 16 facilities, more than 4,500 employees, and approximately $2.5 billion in annual sales.

A past investment of Brynwood was Richelieu Foods, a private label manufacturer of frozen pizza and salad dressings. Richelieu, one of Brynwood’s most successful investments, was acquired in 2005 from Weiss, Peck & Greer, and was sold to Centerview Partners in 2010.

“On behalf of the Newport team, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Brynwood team for their partnership in bringing this transaction to fruition. As a Chicago-based business, Great Kitchens is the ideal new owner of the Uno Foods business,” said Tim Janszen, the CEO of Newport Global Advisors.

Newport Global Advisors invests in small to middle-market companies across a range of industries that have enterprise values between $50 million and $750 million. The firm was founded in 2005 and is headquartered near Houston in The Woodlands, Texas.

© 2023 Private Equity Professional | March 3, 2023

To search in site, type your keyword and hit enter