Investment firm Ardian SAS has acquired a majority stake in Florida Food Products in a deal valuing the ingredient maker at more than $1 billion including debt.
MidOcean Partners, the existing backer of the food producer, will retain what the companies in a joint statement called a “significant” stake without providing further details of the terms.
Florida Food Products, founded in 1954, works with food producers on so-called clean-label products made with natural ingredients, according to its website. It specializes in processes such as food protection in cured meat and extraction of tea, coffee and vegetable juice.
“What we do at the end of the day is we enable food companies to deliver food to consumers that they’re demanding,” said Jim Holdrieth, the company’s chief executive officer. Consumers want to see things that they’re familiar with when they look at the ingredient lists of a product instead of synthetic chemicals, Holdrieth said in an interview.
New York-based MidOcean Partners acquired the food supplier in 2018 from another private equity firm, Kainos Capital, according to a statement at the time. Terms of that deal weren’t disclosed. Before that, Florida Food was owned by the founding Brown Family.
“You will see Florida Food continue to expand its products and drive real innovation on an organic basis,” said MidOcean Partners Vice President Steven Loeffler. “You will also see us be acquisitive on the M&A front to add capabilities and products.”
The companies said they expect the transaction to close in the fourth quarter.
Ardian’s international footprint will help expand the company’s reach, said Thibault Basquin, head of Americas investments for Ardian Buyout.
“What we want with Jim and MidOcean is to make the platform larger, to make it even more diversified in terms of end markets and geographies, and even more appealing for potential strategics,” Basquin said.
A sale to a strategic buyer or an initial public offering could be possible in a few years, he said.
Florida Food is the second-biggest U.S. transaction for Paris-based Ardian, which started its U.S. buyout team two years ago.
Last year, it bought a 50% stake in Angus Chemical Co. from Golden Gate Capital, according to a statement. Golden Gate retained a significant stake in the company, which was valued in the deal at about $2.25 billion including debt.
Ardian’s financial advisers in the Florida Food transaction were JPMorgan Chase & Co., Houlihan Lokey and Evercore Inc. MidOcean Partners was advised by Houlihan Lokey.