Advent International’s launch of Sovos Brands will allow the global private equity fund manager to execute smaller add-on acquisitions out of its current $13 billion fund as it expands into the consumer packaged goods industry, Jeff Case, a managing director with the firm, told Agri Investor.
The recently announced purchase of Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods, a maker of frozen Italian entrées, marked the first from Sovos Brands, which is being led by a group of seasoned consumer packaged goods executives.
“Consumer products, specifically food and beverage, are one of the key target sectors at Advent, and we have spent a lot of time and invested significant dollars in this area,” Case said. “Establishing a new platform company in Sovos Brands allows us to potentially do some smaller add-on acquisitions than we otherwise could do as a standalone deal out of [our] fund.”
Advent completed fundraising for the Advent International GPE VIII Limited Partnership (GPE VIII) in March 2016, reaching its hard-cap of $13 billion after six months in the market. Case said the fund has a flexible model with the ability to write equity checks for standalone deals as low as $100 million and as large as $1 billion, while the Sovos brand will allow the fund to invest amounts falling below that range.
However, “the end goal with Sovos is to create a multi-billion dollar consumer goods company” under the leadership of Todd Lachman, president and CEO; Larry Bodner, CFO; and Bill Johnson, chairman.
Lachman has a 25-year record working with major consumer products companies, including Mars, Del Monte Foods, H.J. Heinz and Procter & Gamble; Bodner has over 25 years of experience as a financial executive at companies including Big Heart Pet Brands, Del Monte Foods, Walt Disney and Procter & Gamble; and Johnson was formerly chairman, CEO and president of H.J. Heinz.
Michael Angelo’s is a family-owned and operated company that produces prepared Italian meals.
“The company’s products are on-trend, offering delicious food that meets today’s lifestyle and consumers’ demands for real, authentic ingredients,” Bodner told Agri Investor.
The next step is to “tell that story to consumers” through expanded marketing and distribution efforts, while increasing output from its Austin, Texas factory, he said. Sovos Brands will focus on accelerating growth by investing in distribution, marketing, production and product innovation across its acquisitions.
Over the past 26 years, Advent International has invested in more than 70 companies across 20 countries in the retail, consumer and leisure industry. Recent investments include Noosa Yoghurt and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
The 10-year GPE III has an average investment hold of five years. Its predecessor fund, GPE VII, closed on $10.8 billion in 2012.