December 17, 2012 – Palladium Equity Partners has signed a definitive agreement to sell its portfolio company Wise Foods, Inc. to Arca Continental, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV: AC). The terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Wise Foods is an iconic brand and a maker of salty snacks under the Wise®, Cheez Doodles® and Moore’s® brands, operating in 21 eastern states from Florida to Maine. The Company is headquartered and performs manufacturing activities in Berwick, Pennsylvania. Wise employs approximately 850 employees and produces nearly 40,000 tons of snacks per year. Palladium acquired Wise in 2000.
The staff and leadership team at Wise Foods will remain in place, led by current Chief Executive Officer, Michael Scott.
Alex Ventosa, Managing Director of Palladium, said, “This transaction is the culmination of a tremendous success story for Wise Foods, and serves as validation of Palladium’s mission to provide investment capital to businesses in the fast-growing U.S. Hispanic market. Since Palladium acquired Wise, the Company has made significant progress reducing its debt, improving operational efficiency, and expanding distribution of its products outside of its traditional East Coast footprint, winning numerous major national accounts with retailers such as Family Dollar, which has over 7,000 stores nationwide. We are proud to have partnered with Wise’s management and we are confident that the Company will continue to grow and thrive as part of Arca Continental, an established leader in the Hispanic marketplace.”
Michael Scott, Chief Executive Officer of Wise Foods, said, “Palladium has been a strong and supportive partner over the past twelve years. Their focus on companies serving the Hispanic market and deep knowledge of the food business have contributed greatly to our Company’s success. As a result of their efforts, along with that of our employees, we have enhanced our Company’s financial position and invigorated the growth prospects for our brand on a national scale, all of which has contributed to the position we are in today. We now look forward to a new chapter in our history under the ownership of Arca Continental.”
Arca Continental is the second largest bottler in Latin America. It produces, distributes and sells non-alcoholic beverages under The Coca-Cola Company brand. Headquartered in Monterrey, Mexico, the company serves more than 53 million consumers in Northern and Western Mexico, Ecuador and Northern Argentina. Arca Continental also produces and distributes Bokados brand snack foods.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal advisors to Palladium and Wise Foods for this transaction.
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals, including the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and is expected to close promptly.