Geneva Glen Buys Dianne’s Fine Desserts, a Former Heinz Carve-Out

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Geneva Glen Capital acquired Dianne’s Fine Desserts Inc., a provider of frozen desserts to the food service industry, from Superior Capital Partners.

Dianne’s, based in Newburyport, Massachusetts, sells thaw-and-serve cheesecakes, layer cakes, pies, tarts, brownies, bars and other gourmet private-label desserts to customers in North America, including food distributors, restaurant chains and in-store bakeries of retail grocers.

Geneva Glen Capital, a private equity firm based in Chicago, plans to expand Dianne’s through  organic growth and acquisitions of complementary dessert businesses. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Dianne’s management holds a significant equity interest in the company. Dianne’s CEO, Mike Knowles, was an operating partner with Geneva Glen before joining the company.

Superior Capital, a Detroit private equity firm, acquired Dianne’s in partnership with Knowles and Dan Scales, another industry executive, in a carve-out transaction from Heinz Foodservice in 2012. The company grew because of heavy investments in isystems and production facilities, along with an acquisition, says Andrew Wiegand, a Superior Capital managing director. Dianne’s revenue grew 50 percent and earnings grew 1,000 percent over the four-year period.

Superior Capital invests in niche manufacturers, distributors and specialty service companies with annual revenues of $10 million to $150 million. Since Superior Capital was founded in 2007, the firm has acquired or invested in 21 companies.

Geneva Glen focuses on investments in proven private companies with leading market positions, significant growth potential and stable cash flows, targeting U.S. and Canadian companies with Ebitda of $3 million to $20 million

Recent food deals have included, in June, Mesa Foods--producer of tortillas, chips and taco shells—being sold by Encore Consumer Capital to Teasdale Foods Inc., a beans distributor backed by PE firm Snow Phipps Group LLC, to further build a Hispanic foods platform. ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) announced it is selling JM Swank, a food ingredient distribution business, to Platinum Equity. And in May, Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) announced it will acquire Friendly’s Ice Cream LLC’s retail ice cream business—not the restaurant business-- for $155 million. Lincoln International investment bank was the sell-side adviser in the Dianne’s deal.

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