BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Audax Private Equity (“Audax”) announced today that it has acquired a controlling interest in Stonewall Kitchen (“The Company”), a leading provider of branded, specialty food products, from Centre Partners. The Company, founded in 1991 and headquartered in York, ME, consists of the flagship Stonewall Kitchen brand; the Tillen Farms brand of pickled vegetables and cocktail cherries; the Napa Valley Naturals brand of olive oils, culinary oils, balsamic vinegars and wine vinegars; the Montebello brand of artisan organic pasta imported from Italy; and the Legal Sea Foods brand of restaurant-quality seafood sauces and condiments. Stonewall Kitchen will continue to be led by existing management, with John Stiker remaining as the Chief Executive Officer, Lori King as the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer, and Natalie King as Executive Vice President.
John Stiker, CEO of Stonewall Kitchen, said, “This is an exciting time for Stonewall Kitchen. We’ve experienced a significant amount of growth over the last five years and, by partnering with Audax, we’ll look to provide even more innovative, high-quality, and delicious products for our customers and guests as we continue to grow going forward. Alongside Audax, we will be looking to continue our acquisition efforts while also growing our heritage Stonewall Kitchen brand. Our focus will be on identifying products and companies that match our high-quality standard for delicious food, and which preserve and enhance our core values and company culture.”
Jay Mitchell, Managing Director, Audax Group, said, “As a New England-based company ourselves, we’re excited to invest in Stonewall Kitchen and partner with John and the rest of the team. The culture and business practices at Stonewall Kitchen are a great match with Audax’ own philosophy and values, and we believe that our Buy & Build investment strategy, combined with their expertise in the specialty food industry, can transform the company.”
Baird acted as exclusive financial advisor to Stonewall Kitchen on the transaction and Greenberg Traurig, LLP acted as legal advisor. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Audax and Sawaya Partners and Lazard acted as buy-side support.
ABOUT STONEWALL KITCHEN
Stonewall Kitchen is a leading specialty food producer headquartered in York, Maine. Founded in 1991 by partners Jonathan King and Jim Stott, the two established the Stonewall Kitchen brand by selling jams and jellies at local farmers’ markets with a flavorful line of distinctive and high-quality products. Over time, they expanded the brand to include sauces, condiments, crackers and baking mixes, always focusing on innovative product development, beautiful packaging, and exceptional guest service. Today, Stonewall Kitchen is the premier specialty foods platform in North America, home to a family of premium quality brands including the flagship Stonewall Kitchen brand; the Tillen Farms brand of pickled vegetables and cocktail cherries; the Napa Valley Naturals brand of olive oils, culinary oils, balsamic vinegars and wine vinegars; the Montebello brand of artisan organic pasta imported from Italy; and the Legal Sea Foods brand of restaurant-quality seafood sauces and condiments. The company boasts more than 8,500 wholesale accounts nationwide and internationally; a thriving catalog and online division; a cooking school and café in both York, Maine and Costa Mesa, California; and nine retail Company Stores throughout New England. As winners of 30 prestigious awards from the Specialty Food Association and the recipient of the coveted Outstanding Product Line Honors three times, Stonewall Kitchen is proud to be one of the most awarded specialty food companies in the country.
For more information about Stonewall Kitchen, please visit: www.stonewallkitchen.com
ABOUT AUDAX PRIVATE EQUITY
Audax Group is a leading alternative investment manager with offices in Boston, New York, and San Francisco. Since its founding in 1999, the firm has raised over $25 billion in capital across its Private Equity and Private Debt businesses. Audax Private Equity has invested over $5 billion in more than 125 platforms and 775 add-on companies, and is currently investing out of its $3.5 billion, sixth private equity fund. Through its disciplined Buy & Build approach, Audax seeks to help platform companies execute add-on acquisitions that fuel revenue growth, optimize operations, and significantly increase equity value. With more than 240 employees and over 100 investment professionals, the firm is a leading capital partner for North American middle market companies. For more information, visit the Audax Group website www.audaxgroup.com.