GREENWICH, CT - August 24, 2011 - Brynwood Partners VI L.P. announced today that its portfolio company, High Ridge Brands Co., owner of the North American Zest personal cleansing franchise, has signed a definitive purchase agreement with Unilever to acquire from Unilever the Alberto VO5 brand and marketing rights in the U.S. and Puerto Rico; as well as the rights to the Rave brand and marketing rights worldwide. Unilever has retained the rights to the Alberto VO5 brand outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico. High Ridge Brands is based in Stamford, CT and Brynwood VI is its majority owner. The transaction, which is subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Justice, is expected to close by the end of August. Terms and conditions of the transaction will not be disclosed.
Alberto VO5 is an iconic brand that was launched in 1955 by the Alberto-Culver Company and is well known for its hair care products including shampoos, conditioners, hair treatments and styling aids. Alberto VO5 has been a top 15 hair care brand for decades and enjoys very high consumer awareness. Originally founded in 1978, Rave is an enduring brand with strong consumer loyalty for its line of hair spray products. Rave is a household name and is recognized for styling products that provide long-lasting hold. The products of both brands are widely distributed in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
"We are delighted to announce the signing of an agreement to acquire the Alberto VO5 and Rave brands," said James Daniels, President & CEO, High Ridge Brands. "We believe that these businesses will greatly complement the Zest personal cleansing brand currently marketed by High Ridge Brands and we look forward to bringing renewed attention and energy to both the Alberto VO5 and Rave brands."
"We are excited to make another acquisition in the personal care space and to add to our very successful Zest business. In an eight month period, we will have created a company with approximately $200 million in sales and look forward to growing the business through renewed marketing, product innovation and selected add-on acquisitions," said Dario Margve, Managing Partner, Brynwood Partners and Chairman of High Ridge Brands.
Brynwood Partners has developed a unique niche of being the lower middle market firm of choice for corporate divestitures. The Alberto VO5 and Rave transaction follows Brynwood Partners' acquisitions of the Zest brand from the Procter & Gamble Company, the TrueNorth brand from PepsiCo, Inc., and the Balance Bar Company from Kraft Foods, Inc. Brynwood Partners also acquired several confections brands from Nestlé USA between 2004 and 2007. "I would like to thank the Unilever team for their partnership in the signing of the definitive purchase agreement for the acquisition of the Alberto VO5 and Rave brands," said Henk Hartong III, Senior Managing Partner, Brynwood Partners. "We are very proud that our list of corporate divestiture relationships will now include Unilever." Over the course of its 27-year history, Brynwood Partners has purchased a total of 16 brands from eight corporations in the consumer segment.
About Brynwood Partners
Founded in 1984, Brynwood Partners is an operationally-focused private equity fund that makes control investments in lower middle market companies. Brynwood Partners targets companies operating in the following sectors: (a) consumer products, (b) light manufacturing with low capital intensity, and (c) businesses services.
Brynwood Partners is currently managing over $500 million of private equity capital for its limited partners who include U.S. and international pension funds, fund-of-funds, endowments, high net worth family investment offices and financial institutions. For more information on Brynwood Partners, please visit www.brynwoodpartners.com.
About High Ridge Brands
Founded in January 2011, High Ridge Brands was established to purchase the Zest personal cleansing brand from the Procter & Gamble Company and to serve as a platform for further acquisitions in the personal care consumer segment. High Ridge Brands is headquartered in Stamford, CT. For more information on High Ridge Brands, please visit www.highridgebrands.com.