Sector News

Hain Celestial struggling to find buyers for its business

January 10, 2018
Food & Drink

Hain has long been identified as a potential takeover target, but its erratic performance and an audit of accounting discrepancies — it announced in June it would not revise any of its previous financial statements — have cast doubt on its future.

After his investment last year, Glenn Welling, founder, principal and chief investment officer of Engaged Capital, succeeded in getting himself and five other new members appointed to the 11-member board. Welling likely favors a sale of Hain, which has acquired more than 55 brands, including BluePrint juice, Celestial Seasonings teas and Garden of Eatin’ snacks, since it was founded in 1993.

In its most recent earnings report, Hain not only showed an increase in sales and profits, but its operating income margin rose from 4% in the first quarter a year ago to 5.6% — a sign it is operating its business more efficiently. The margin improvement could be particularly attractive to a buyer.

Besides Nestle, major food manufacturers mentioned as potentially interested in buying Hain, or some of its brands, include PepsiCo, Campbell Soup, Hormel Foods, General Mills, Kraft Heinz and Unilever, according to TheStreet.

If one buyer isn’t interested in the whole company, CNBC said it’s possible multiple firms could get involved. Unilever might want its personal care business — which includes Alba Botanica and Avalon Organics — while Tyson Foods or Pilgrim’s Pride might be interested in its Empire Kosher Poultry and Plainville Farms.

CPGs, which have struggled as consumers shun processed items in favor of fresher, organic and natural products, could bulk up their offerings in the space by purchasing the company. Many firms have already made moves to improve their brand lineup, and a purchase of Hain represents such an opportunity.

Still, as the New York Post noted, Hain has a hodgepodge of mostly smaller brands that would take significant time and money for a bigger player to nurture and grow — depriving the buyer of the initial bang most companies look for in a deal. It’s a far cry from four years ago when General Mills purchased the well-known Annie’s, which boasts lines of mac and cheese, cereal and yogurt, for $820 million.

Several large companies have recently acquired smaller manufacturers in the natural and organic space. Campbell Soup announced in July it would spend $700 million to purchase natural and organic brand Pacific Foods of Oregon. And Conagra Brands recently announced it would acquire Angie’s Artisan treats, the maker of Angie’s Boomchickapop popcorn.

With a market cap of $4.5 billion, Hain would be an acquisition these and other much larger food and beverage manufacturers could easy digest — if they were convinced it made sense and if experienced management could take over from Hain CEO Irwin Simon, who founded the company.

Ultimately, time may be on Hain’s side. That’s because the new law lowering corporate taxes from 35% to 21% could make a breakup much cheaper to accomplish. Simon has guided the company from the beginning, and he may not want to sell, especially for a cheap price. According to the Post, he said he didn’t build the company to sell it — but to change the way people eat. Despite that claim, in the end, it may be greenbacks and not plates of organic greens that wield the most influence over Hain’s future.

Source: Food Dive

comments closed

Related News

November 19, 2022

Cultivated meat revolution changes gear as FDA gives “historic” nod to cell-based chicken in US

Food & Drink

Upside Foods has become the first company in the world to receive a “No Questions” letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cultivated meat, poultry or seafood, which means the government food agency accepts Upside’s conclusion that its cultivated chicken is safe to eat.

November 19, 2022

Technomic predicts rise in in-person dining for 2023

Food & Drink

While inflation and heightened interest rates have created the threat of a possible recession, Technomic’s first trend predicts the impact on the foodservice industry to be relatively mild. The company estimates rising grocery prices will help close the value gap between dining at home or at a restaurant, incentivizing consumers to eat out.

November 19, 2022

Oatly reorganizing as losses mount

Food & Drink

A week after Beyond Meat, Inc., said it was pivoting to improve company performance, Oatly Group AB announced its own pivot. Following weak third-quarter results, the company is shifting to a “hybrid” manufacturing model and reducing costs in its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region through cost and headcount reductions.