Pinnacle Buys Garden Protein International for $175 Million

Pinnacle Foods Inc. announced on November 14 that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Vancouver, Canada-based Garden Protein International Inc., manufacturer of the plant-based protein brand gardein™, from Yves Potvin, the firm’s founder and president, and TSG Consumer Partners LLC, a strategic equity firm.

Gardein (which stands for garden + protein) is an innovator in the expanding plant-based protein segment, with a line of award-winning frozen products that serve as alternatives for traditional animal-based protein formats, such as chicken strips and tenders, ground beef and fish fillets. The range, which is available in mainstream supermarkets as well as in organic and natural food retail outlets, is made from non-GMO soy and wheat, other grains and vegetables.

Gardein-black-bean-slidersChipotle Black Bean Sliders and Pulled Porkless BBQ Pocket Meals are among the meat-free frozen products available under the Gardein brand just acquired by Pinnacle Foods.

Commenting on the announcement, Pinnacle Foods CEO Bob Gamgort stated, “The acquisition of Gardein is a key enabler to continue building Birds Eye into the leading health and wellness brand focused on helping Americans eat more vegetables. By bringing Gardein under the Birds Eye umbrella, we will accelerate growth through expanded distribution, marketing and innovation.”

He continued, “We believe that plant-based protein is at the tipping point of becoming mainstream, making Gardein an exciting new growth platform for the Birds Eye business. We congratulate Yves and the Gardein team for pioneering new territory in food and look forward to welcoming them to Pinnacle.”

Gardein is expected to generate net sales approximating CAD $65 million in 2014. The CAD $175 million acquisition, which includes a manufacturing facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, will be funded with available liquidity.

Pinnacle-Foods-LogoParsippany, New Jersey, USA-headquartered Pinnacle plans to invest significantly in the acquired assets in 2015 to continue to expand the brand and leverage the complementary positioning of Gardein and Birds Eye in the marketplace. As such, the addition of Gardein is likely to have a minimal impact on earnings in 2015.

In connection with this transaction, Perella Weinberg Partners is serving as financial advisor to Pinnacle Foods, while Houlihan Lokey, Inc. is the financial advisor of record for Garden Protein International Inc.