Sector News

Wind Point buys two California custom food manufacturers

December 13, 2017
Consumer Packaged Goods

Wind Point Partners, a leading Chicago-based private equity firm, has partnered with experienced food executive Milt Liu and management to acquire Pacifica Foods (“Pacifica”) and Stir Foods (“Stir”), two California-based businesses in the custom food manufacturing industry.

Pacifica and Stir, headquartered in Corona, California, and Orange, California, respectively, are custom manufacturers of soups, sauces, dressings, fresh salsas, and muffin batters for both retail and foodservice customers. The acquisition of these businesses will allow both companies to better service existing customers through a more diverse set of product and packaging offerings (sizes and formats), additional capacity for growth, and greater culinary expertise and resources.

“Pacifica Foods and Stir Foods are leaders in the attractive custom food manufacturing industry,” stated Joe Lawler, Principal at Wind Point. “Our investment will support the strong cultures established by the ongoing ownership and current management teams to continue to deliver strong quality and customer service and grow with our customers.”

Lawler added, “I am equally excited about partnering with Milt Liu who brings decades of highly relevant leadership experience in food manufacturing and retail.”

Milt Liu, a proven leader in the foodservice industry, has joined the Company as CEO. Liu possesses deep experience in Pacifica and Stir’s end markets and has held various leadership, operational, and strategy-oriented roles throughout his career, most recently serving as President and COO of Flying Food Group, as well as various senior level roles within Target Corporation’s grocery business. Previously, Liu served as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co.

In addition, Wind Point is once again partnering with Dave Beré, a Wind Point Executive Advisor Partner and long-time consumer products and foodservice executive, who has joined the Company as non-executive Chairman. Beré most recently served as Chairman of Nonni’s Foods, a producer of branded artisan baked cookies and specialty snacks, recently owned and sold by Wind Point.

Liu commented, “I am honored and excited to work with Wind Point and Dave Beré to bring together these two culinary-driven custom food manufacturers. The management teams at Pacifica Foods and Stir Foods have created customer-focused organizations with reputations for superior quality, consistency and reliability. I look forward to working with existing management to utilize our complementary product and packaging capabilities, as well as Wind Point’s resources, to better serve existing and new customers.”

Beré added, “I am excited to be working with Milt and the Wind Point team again, as well as the rest of the board. Pacifica and Stir are well-established businesses with exciting growth prospects in particularly on-trend market segments.”

Wind Point’s acquisition of both Pacifica and Stir represent yet another partnership for the firm with entrepreneur and family-owned businesses, a key tenet of Wind Point’s investment strategy for decades. Wind Point will seek to further grow the Company both organically and through add-on acquisitions, leveraging the firm’s extensive experience in the food industry.

Pacifica and Stir’s four production facilities will remain open and management from both companies will continue to be involved in the go forward business.

BMO Harris Bank N.A. and Antares Capital led financing for the transaction. Reed Smith served as legal counsel to Wind Point. B. Riley Financial served as financial advisors and K&L Gates served as legal counsel to Pacifica Foods. Palmieri Tyler served as legal counsel to Stir Foods.

Source: Pacifica Foods

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