Merisant Emerges from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

  • Completion of Financial Restructuring Unlocks Resources for Growth
  • Reduced Debt Enables Company to Better Realize Potential of Assets and Natural Sweetener Opportunity

CHICAGO--()--Merisant Company, a global leader in tabletop sweeteners, announced today that the Company has successfully completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved Merisant’s plan of reorganization (the “Plan”) on December 16. The Plan reduces the aggregate principal amount of Merisant’s indebtedness from $567 million to approximately $147 million, lowering the Company’s annual cash interest expense from approximately $36 million to $11 million.

As previously announced, private investment funds managed by Wayzata Investment Partners LLC (“Wayzata”) are now the majority stockholder of Merisant Company, which is now the parent company of the Merisant group of companies. Wayzata has designated five of the seven members of the new board of directors and named Eugene “Gene” Davis chairman of the board. Paul Block served as chairman from 2005-2010 and will remain president and chief executive officer, roles he has held since 2004. Mr. Block will continue to serve as a director of the Company.

“This financial restructuring provides the right capital structure and resources for Merisant to aggressively pursue its goal of becoming a leading consumer packaged goods company,” said Paul Block, president and chief executive officer of Merisant. “Merisant has an enviable portfolio of sweeteners and considerable opportunity in the natural sweetener category. We are now better equipped to capitalize on these assets.”

Wayzata appointed Davis as chairman of the board of directors to reflect best practices in board governance by separating the chairman and CEO positions. Davis is the chairman and chief executive officer of PIRINATE Consulting Group LLC, a firm that specializes in strategic planning for public and private companies. Davis has served in senior positions in a variety of businesses, including consumer products companies.

“Merisant has made significant achievements in the last several years despite its restrictive capital structure,” said Davis. “Paul and his team successfully stabilized the company’s core sweetener business, improved operating efficiencies, and led innovations in natural sweeteners. I share Paul’s vision for the company and I’m excited to work with him to achieve it.”

In addition to Davis and Block, the board will include Joseph M. Deignan, Wayzata partner; William P. Murnane, Wayzata operating partner; Tom Paulson, vice president and chief financial officer of Tennant Company; Robert F. Waldron, chief marketing officer of The Sun Products Corporation; and Ryan Langdon, co-founder and senior managing director of Newport Global Advisors.

“I look forward to working closely with Gene in establishing board best practices in governance, a strong strategic plan that will ensure the right ROI and the right investment to deliver the anticipated results,” said Block. “I would like to thank our previous board and the good working relationship we had with Pegasus,” he added.

Merisant Worldwide, Inc. and its U.S. subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 protection on January 9, 2009, to strengthen Merisant’s financial health and long-term prospects. Merisant has operated its U.S. business in the ordinary course without material disruption during the bankruptcy case.

The lead case number is 09-10059. For further information on Merisant’s financial restructuring, please visit http://www.merisant.com.

About Merisant

Merisant Company is a worldwide leader in the marketing of low-calorie tabletop sweeteners. In addition to PureVia™, Equal® and Canderel®, Merisant markets its products under 18 other brands in over 90 countries. For more information visit www.merisant.com.

Note to editors: Equal® and Canderel® are registered trademarks of Merisant Company. PureVia™ is a trademark of Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merisant Company, and of PepsiCo, Inc.

Contacts

for Merisant
Aaron Brost, 312-840-3033
or
Edelman
Joe Poulos, 312-240-2827

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Contacts

for Merisant
Aaron Brost, 312-840-3033
or
Edelman
Joe Poulos, 312-240-2827