San Francisco and New York – Swander Pace Capital, a leading private equity firm specializing in investments in consumer products companies, has sold its minority investment in Applegate, the nation’s leading natural and organic meat company, to Hormel Foods Corp. Swander Pace, along with Applegate founder Stephen McDonnell, have transferred ownership to Hormel in a transaction valued at $775 million.
“We have enjoyed working with Stephen and the rest of his team to grow Applegate into the leader in the natural and organic meat industry,” said Andrew Richards, a Managing Director at Swander Pace. “Over nearly three decades, Applegate has been changing the food industry and providing quality products to meet the changing preferences of consumers who highly value transparency and natural ingredients”
“Swander Pace has been a valued partner over the last six years and instrumental in providing guidance and support to grow our brand and expand distribution channels all while maintaining our commitment to our mission and values,” said McDonnell. “Applegate’s leadership in the natural and organic food movement and mission to the change the meat we eat will continue with our partnership with Hormel.”
McDonnell founded Applegate in 1987, and the company has experienced exponential growth in the exploding organic and natural food market. Applegate sells a wide variety of natural and organic meat products including deli meats, hot dogs, bacon, sausages, frozen breaded chicken and pre-packed lunch kits. There are currently more than 140 Applegate products sold in stores nationwide. Applegate is a pioneer in providing antibiotic-free and humanely-raised meat.
“We have been honored to support Applegate in its efforts to change the meat industry “said Rob DesMarais, a Managing Director at Swander Pace. “This transaction represents another successful execution of our consumer products investment strategy to attract and partner with world class teams, implement effective marketing strategies, optimize productivity, and drive success in a growing industry.”
About Swander Pace Capital
Swander Pace Capital is a leading private equity firm specializing in investments in growth-oriented, middle-market consumer products companies in North America and the United Kingdom. Since its inception in 1996, Swander Pace Capital has applied its consumer products expertise pursuing a consistent strategy of acquiring or investing in consumer products companies with leading market positions in attractive, defensible niches. With staff in San Francisco, New Jersey, and Ontario (Toronto), Swander Pace Capital provides portfolio companies with a unique mix of financial and strategic consulting support to create long-term value. Swander Pace Capital has raised over $1.3 billion of equity capital through five private equity funds and has led successful investments in more than 40 consumer products companies with total revenues in excess of $2.0 billion.
For more than 25 years, Applegate has been producing high-quality natural and organic hot dogs, bacon, sausages, deli meats, cheese and frozen products. Natural can mean many things, but when Applegate says their products are natural, consumers are guaranteed that they are free of GMO ingredients and the meat inside is:
- Raised without antibiotics or hormones
- From animals fed a vegetarian or 100% grass diet and treated with humane animal standards
- Free of added chemical nitrites, nitrates or phosphates
- Free of artificial ingredients or preservatives