Swander Pace Partners has reached a partnership agreement with Watkins Inc. to grow and invest in the J.R. Watkins Personal Care & Household brand.

Established in 1868, J.R. Watkins manufactures and distributes a variety of spices, personal care products and apothecary goods. As part of the investment, Swander Pace will provide the resources and financial backing to carve out the J.R. Watkins Personal Care & Household brand from Watkins, Inc. into a separate company named J.R. Watkins. BMO Capital Markets served as financial adviser to Watkins Inc. on the deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“We are looking forward to building on the legacy of J.R. Watkins to increase its share of the household and personal care category,” states Swander Pace managing director Heather Thorne. “J.R. Watkins has always stood for a superior range of products, high caliber of customer service, and extremely loyal customer base. These are tremendous assets for any consumer-facing business and are major reasons we are excited about partnering with this team and brand.”

Swander Pace is a San Francisco-based private equity firm with more than 45 companies since its inception in 1996. Swander Pace targets companies with up to $500 million in revenue. Swander Pace, led by managing directors Thorne, Andrew Richards, Mark Poff, Mo Stout, Corby Reese, Rob DesMarais, closed its sixth fund in Sept. 2016 to focus on the consumer sector.

The PE firm has been rather active in the middle market lately. Swander Pace recently acquired Asian cuisine distributor Passport Food Group, baby product manufacturer Halo Innovations Inc., and vitamin retailer Swanson Health Products. The film also sold organic coffee maker Kicking Horse Coffee Ltd to Luigi Lavazza.

J.R. Watkins

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