Butterfly Equity fund hits $429m

Filings suggest the firm co-headed by an ex-KKR principal is continuing to raise capital for its second fund.

Butterfly Equity, a food-focused private equity firm headquartered in Los Angeles, has raised $429 million for an investment vehicle, according to regulatory filings.

The firm has raised $242.5 million from 64 investors for Butterfly Fund II since its first sale in May 2017, the filings showed. A related vehicle, Butterfly Fund II – A, has raised $186.5 million from eight investors since its first sale in July.

A previous filing showed Butterfly Fund II had raised $174.5 million from 53 investors as of May 2018.

A Butterfly spokesperson declined to comment.

In June 2017, the Indiana Public Retirement System committed $75 million to Butterfly Fund II. INPRS materials identified the vehicle as a 10-year fund, with plans to make investments of between $50 million and $80 million in agriculture and aquaculture, food and beverage products, food distribution and food service.

Co-founder and co-chief executive Adam Waglay was a principal at KKR for eight years prior to Butterfly’s founding in 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. Butterfly’s website says Waglay’s primary focus at KKR was the food sector and his stint included participation in transactions including Dollar General, National Vision and Lemonade Restaurant Group.

In June 2016, Butterfly made its first investment into Lemonade, a chain of fast-casual restaurants serving seasonal “California cuisine” that still counted KKR among its investors.

Butterfly carried out two acquisitions in early 2018: of striped bass producer Pacifico Aquaculture in January and Modern Market, a farm-to-table restaurant chain, the following month.

Last month, Butterfly acquired Bolthouse Farms, a unit of Campbell’s Soup dedicated to high value-added natural, healthy products with a focus on carrots, premium beverages and salad dressings, for $510 million in cash. The transaction included access to 65,000 acres of farmland, a carrot and beverage processing facility and distribution assets in California, Illinois, Washington and Canada.