Many consumer-products giants are engaged in a disciplined process of shedding under-performing lines to focus on faster-growing brands. (See related chart). Some companies began shrinking to grow during the recession, while others embraced the realignment strategy more recently. For middle-market dealmakers, the corporate pruning process yields plenty of opportunities to buy and sell.

“Typically a non-core brand has been under-resourced prior to the decision by the corporate seller to divest it,” Henk Hartong, CEO of Brynwood Partners, tells Mergers & Acquisitions. Brynwood has completed 40 corporate carve-outs, including many popular personal-care brands, such as Zest, which it purchased from Procter & Gamble in 2011. Brynwood used Zest as a launching pad for a roll-up of a wide array of well-known products under the banner of High Ridge Brands Co. In May, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice agreed to buy High Ridge for $415 million.

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