Fengate Private Equity and Weathervane Investments Announce Acquisition of Saco Foods

January 22, 2024

Middleton, WI, 22 January 2024 — Fengate Private Equity (“Fengate”), a division of Fengate Asset Management, today announced it has completed the acquisition of Saco Foods Holdings, LLC (“Saco” or “the Company”) from Benford Capital Partners. Fengate is partnering with Weathervane Investment Corp. (“Weathervane”) to support continued growth of the Company, and is managing this investment on behalf of the LiUNA Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada.

This acquisition represents the first United States platform investment for Fengate Private Equity. The existing management team, led by CEO Tom Walzer, will continue to retain a significant equity interest in the Company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Saco was founded in 1973 by Ray Sanna, with his father and brother, as a product innovator in staple food categories. The Sanna family sold the Company to Tom Walzer in 2014; Tom then recapitalized the business in partnership with Benford Capital Partners in 2016. Under Tom Walzer’s leadership over the last ten years, Saco has grown into a diversified and rapidly expanding portfolio of leading shelf-stable food brands: Dolci Frutta, the #1 brand in confectionary chocolate coatings; California Sun Dry, the #1 brand in sun-dried tomato food products; Saco Pantry, a leader in instant dry milk products and complementary baking ingredients; Solo Foods, a century-old staple in toppings, pastes and fillings; and Hoosier Hill Farm, a pioneer in online and direct-to-consumer food offerings.

“We are excited to back Tom and his team, who have built a strong portfolio of leading brands that sit at the intersection of quality, heritage and convenience,” says Jennifer Pereira, Managing Director, Group Head of Private Equity at Fengate. “In the food and beverage sector, Saco is an excellent fit with our strategy of backing strong management teams and investing in trusted and enduring products with ample whitespace for growth.”

Pereira added, “Alongside our partners at Weathervane and management, we look forward to supporting the continued growth of the Company’s existing brands through new product innovation, expanding into new categories and channels, and further building the platform through acquisitions. This also marks our first private equity investment in the U.S. and we look forward to growing our presence across North America.”

“This is our first partnership with Fengate, and with our like-minded investment philosophy, we are ambitious in expanding this business together with the experienced management team at Saco,” adds Matt Wubs, Partner and Co-Founder of Weathervane Investments.

“Saco Foods is excited to partner with Fengate and Weathervane to sponsor the Company’s next chapter of growth,” said Tom Walzer, CEO of Saco Foods. “With our aligned vision and values, we believe this partnership will maintain and expand upon our entrepreneurial spirit and our commitment to quality.”

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor for the purchasers and Royal Bank of Canada provided debt financing. Ice Miller LLP served as legal advisor for Benford Capital Partners, while TM Capital served as Saco’s financial advisor.

About Saco Foods:

Saco Foods, founded in 1973 and headquartered in Middleton, WI, is a branded niche market-leading food products company selling primarily through supermarkets, mass retailers and ecommerce channels in the U.S. Saco Foods has a portfolio of leading shelf stable brands including Saco Pantry, Dolci Frutta, California Sun Dry, Hoosier Hill Farm and recently acquired Solo Foods. Saco is recognized for its commitment to quality and unique, innovative products, which has helped the company establish consistent, long-term shelf placement with its top customers. Learn more at www.sacofoods.com.

About Fengate Asset Management:

Fengate is a leading alternative investment manager, with more than $8 billion of capital commitments under management, focused on private equity, infrastructure and real estate strategies. With offices in Ontario and Texas and team members across North America, Fengate leverages 50 years of entrepreneurial experience to deliver excellent investment results on behalf of its clients. Fengate Private Equity, a division of Fengate Asset Management, is a differentiated investment platform supporting the growth ambitions of entrepreneurs through transformative capital. Learn more at www.fengate.com.

About LiUNA Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada:

Established in 1972, the LiUNA Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada (LPFCEC) is one of the fastest growing multi-employer pension funds across Canada, voted top 10 pension funds by Benefits Canada. With a diverse investment portfolio and over $12 billion in assets, LPFCEC has yielded positive returns for the plan, great work opportunities for LiUNA members, and has created many needed institutions across North America through a broad range of investments. Learn more at www.lpfcec.org.

About Weathervane Investments:

Weathervane Investments is a Vancouver-based private equity fund, backed by committed capital from the Wubs family. The founding Partners of Weathervane bring operational, transaction and investing expertise to the platform, with the intention of leveraging those skillsets to support businesses looking to reach the next level of growth. Learn more at www.weathervaneinvestments.ca.

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