Clearlake Capital Group has announced they have signed a definitive agreement to sell Proven Brands and KTB Foods to The Hain Celestial Group for approximately $259 million. The sale includes the flagship ParmCrisps and Thinsters brands out of Clearlake’s Better For You Holdings food platform, which sponsors leading providers of high quality, branded, better-for-you snacks and beverages.
Clearlake acquired the company in 2014 and subsequently completed the successful acquisition of Kitchen Table Bakers, the makers of ParmCrisps, in 2016. Under Clearlake’s stewardship, in partnership with Founder Aldo Zuppichini, Chief Executive Officer Sammy Kestenbaum and management and employees, the company introduced a variety of new flavors and innovative products, scaled distribution and manufacturing, including opening a new company-owned facility in 2020 to optimize the company’s proprietary manufacturing process, accelerated multi-channel go-to-market capabilities and modernized its branding with redesigned logos and packaging.
These initiatives resulted in about a six-time revenue growth during Clearlake’s ownership period. Since Clearlake’s initial investment, the company has grown its employees from less than 10 to more than 250 today and now operates a recently opened 70,000 square foot manufacturing facility in York, PA. The company has successfully positioned ParmCrisps and Thinsters as the No. 1 and No. 3 brands in their categories, respectively, with ParmCrisps positioned as the fastest growing cheese crisp brand in the US.
“We have been proud to partner with Aldo, Sammy and the entire team in executing on our combined vision of scaling a better-for-you snack platform to meet the demands of today’s health conscious, informed consumers,” said José E. Feliciano and Behdad Eghbali, Co-Founders and Managing Partners of Clearlake. “Given our previous experience with Hain Celestial, who acquired our former portfolio company World Gourmet / Sensible Portions in 2010, we believe ParmCrisps and Thinsters have found a perfect home, and we look forward to the brands’ continued success under Hain.”
“The growth we achieved with ParmCrisps and Thinsters in partnership with the Company’s leadership team and employee base is an exciting success story for Clearlake’s O.P.S® approach,” said Arta Tabaee, Managing Director and Sean Courtney, Vice President of Clearlake. “We are proud of the success of the ParmCrisps and Thinsters brands and look forward to their continued growth under Hain Celestial’s leadership.”
“We are excited to welcome ParmCrisps and Thinsters to the Hain family and support the brands’ next chapter of growth,” said Mark Schiller, President and CEO of Hain. “ParmCrisps and Thinsters are attractive clean-label snacks that address the needs of a growing base of health conscious consumers.”
“Our company’s partnership with Hain Celestial is an outstanding outcome based on our shared alignment to deliver healthy and tasty snacks with simple, wholesome ingredients. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to partner with Clearlake and are grateful to our customers, suppliers and employees for their support,” said Kestenbaum. “Together, we have built two leading better-for-you snack brands with significant runway for continued growth and innovation.”
“This successful outcome would not have been possible without the value-added partnership of Clearlake, whose deep consumer and operating expertise accelerated our growth trajectory,” added Zuppichini. “Clearlake understood our goals, and, under their stewardship, we were able to successfully execute our growth plan. A great product along with the right people and an intense passion has been our recipe for success.”
This transaction represents the latest exit in Clearlake’s portfolio in the consumer sector. In addition to ParmCrisps and Thinsters, current and past investments in the consumer space include notable brands such as From the Ground Up, Sensible Portions, OWYN, Chef’s Cut Real Jerky and CORE Hydration in the better-for-you food & beverage sector; Wellness, Whimzees and Old Mother Hubbard in the pet food category; as well as other notable consumer brands such as Jacuzzi in the wellness sector and American Racing, Fuel Off-Road and KMC in the automotive aftermarket space.
Piper Sandler & Co. and BofA Securities served as the financial advisors to Proven Brands and Hain Celestial, respectively. Sidley Austin and Venable served as counsel to Clearlake and Hain, respectively.