P&G to acquire Merck consumer-health business, including European supplement brands
The Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G, Cincinnati, Ohio) has agreed to acquire the consumer health business of Merck KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany) for approximately €3.4 billion ($4.2 billion). Merck’s $1 billion consumer-health business has grown 6 percent over the past two years. The deal adds more than 900 products to P&G's health care portfolio. Merck’s top consumer-health brands include supplements such as Neurobion vitamin B complex, Femibion for women during pregnancy, Bion3 vitamins, Seven Seas fish oil and Kytta herbal cream for pain—all of which are sold primarily in Europe, Latin America and Asia. P&G's consumer health care brands include Vicks, Metamucil, Pepto-Bismol, Crest and Oral-B. Seven Seas and Neurobion are faster growing than P&G’s household products, the Financial Times reported.
Chinese consortium acquires Nature’s Care supplements in Australia
A Chinese state-backed consortium that includes China Jianyin Investment Ltd. and Tamar Alliance acquired a majority stake in Nature’s Care (Sydney, Australia). Details were not disclosed, but according to Reuters, the deal values Nature’s Care at around $619.92 million. Nature’s Care, which also makes skin care products, is reported to be Australia’s third-largest maker of vitamins behind Swisse and Blackmores. The founding Wu family will retain the remaining minority stake in the 28-year-old company. Nature's Care was pitched to potential buyers as a fast-growing vitamins company with net sales of $178 million in the year ending June 30, according to The Australian Financial Review.
Chinese consumers consider supplements from Australia and the West to be of better quality than those locally produced, spurring Chinese enterprises to seek investments elsewhere. In the United States, GNC recently announced a $300 million investment by Harbin Pharmaceutical Group (Hayao), a large Chinese pharmaceutical company.
Mega Pharma acquires Latin American supplement company Garden House
Mega Pharma (Canelones, Uruguay) has finalized the acquisition of Garden House (Santiago, Chile) for an undisclosed amount, according to the Global Legal Chronicle. Garden House S.A. develops, produces and commercializes over-the-counter medicines and supplements based on plant extracts, nutraceuticals, vitamins and minerals. Garden House sells through the pharmaceutical retail industry in North, Central and South America.
Functional foods and beverages
Core Nutrition raises $39 million for functional beverages
Functional beverage company Core Nutrition LLC (El Segundo, California) has raised $38.7 million over the past 12 months from 48 investors, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Core Nutrition makes Core Hydration, a pH-balanced bottled water enhanced with electrolytes and minerals. Core Hydration had more than $93 million in sales in the 52-week period ending Jan. 28, up approximately 60 percent from the prior year, according to IRI data cited in an article on Bevnet.
Core Nutrition also makes organic fruit-flavored bottled water and energy drinks.
Hearthside Food, a private-label bakery and nutrition bar manufacturer, changes ownership
Charlesbank Capital Partners and Partners Group have agreed to acquire Hearthside Food Solutions (Downers Grove, Illinois), a leading independent bakery, in partnership with management. The private label manufacturer is being acquired from Goldman Sachs and Vestar Capital Partners. Hearthside produces a broad range of nutrition bars, cookies, cereals and other baked foods and snacks, operating 25 manufacturing facilities across the United States and Europe. Hearthside acquired VSI, the largest European producer of nutrition bars in 2015, and U.S. bar manufacturer Standard Functional Foods Group in 2017.
Maker of Primal Bars attracts investment to grow distribution and brand awareness
NVM Private Equity has invested £3 million ($4.18 million) of growth capital in The Primal Pantry (Maidenhead, United Kingdom), the maker of real food protein and snack bars. Funds will be targeted at growing retail distribution and in-store visibility, along with driving brand awareness through consumer marketing channels. Founded by Suzie Walker in 2014 at her kitchen table, Primal Bars are sold at more than 7,000 distribution points in the U.K. International sales account for 30 percent of revenue. Primal Pantry recently launched a new range of protein bars each containing 15g of plant-based protein.