Today, Smart Balance announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Udi's Healthy Foods for $125 million (purchase price of $103 million and an additional $22 million in future tax benefits) - an acquisition it says will enable it to offer "the most comprehensive portfolio of gluten-free products."
Smart Balance said it was acquiring Udi's Healthy Foods from E&A Industries, an Indianapolis-based investment firm, the family of Udi Baron and other minority holders.
Smart Balance had previously purchased Quebec-based Glutino Food Group, a Canadian maker of gluten-free foods.
Stephen Hughes, chairman and chief executive of Smart Balance, said today that Udi Baron, founder of Udi's, partnered with E&A Industries three years ago to launch a groundbreaking gluten-free bakery line.
"Today the brand is the leading devoted gluten-free brand with a very loyal following in gluten-free bread. Udi's leading bread and bakery portfolio is the perfect compliment to Glutino's wide range of bakery products, and broadens our natural foods portfolio which includes Earth Balance, Glutino and now Udi's," said Hughes.
In the 12 month period ending March 31, Udi's sales were $60.9 million.
Devin Anderson, chief executive of Udi's Healthy Foods, said the acquisition by Smart Balance represents "an outstanding opportunity to bring together two companies which share similar corporate visions, principles and growth objectives..."
Smart Balance's Hughes said the gluten-free food segment is now a "cornerstone" strategy for Smart Balance.
"This acquisition will be transformational to our company, as it will position Smart Balance as a leader in gluten-free, accelerate our growth rate, and further diversify our mix to high-growth natural brands."
Smart Balance has made two previous major acquisitions: GFA Brands, Inc. in 2007, makers of Smart Balance and Earth Balance, and Glutino Food Group in 2011.
Hughes said that the 2012 acquisition of Udi's Healthy Foods, "the current leading devoted gluten-free brand," marks the company's third major acquisition.
Smart Balance said it expects to close the transaction for Udi's in July.
Source: Denver Post