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Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM, Chicago, Illinois) is to acquire Probiotics International Limited (PIL, Somerset, United Kingdom), a provider of probiotic supplements for humans, pets and livestock in a cash transaction valued at £185 million. Probiotics International makes the Bio-Kult brand of probiotic supplements, in addition to contract-manufactured products. The company has about 160 employees. Earlier this year, ADM brought its animal and human nutrition product lines together into a single nutrition business platform that houses ADM’s health and wellness business, including bioactives, botanical extracts and specialty nutritional oils.
Dean Foods Company (Dallas, Texas) has increased its ownership percentage and taken a majority stake in Good Karma Foods (Boulder, Colorado), a brand of flaxseed-based milk and yogurt alternatives. Good Karma will continue to operate as an independent company led by its existing leadership team. 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners continues to be a material investor. Most of Dean Foods’ portfolio is dairy-based, including the national brands DairyPure and TruMoo. Dean also has a joint venture with Organic Valley, distributing fresh organic products to local retailers.
BrightFarms (Irvington, New York), a brand of locally grown packaged salads, has secured $55 million in a Series D equity financing. BrightFarms builds and operates greenhouse farms near major metropolitan areas to provide supermarkets with a consistent supply of locally grown produce. The round was led by Cox Enterprises, joined by existing investors Catalyst Investors, WP Global Partners and NGEN Partners. BrightFarms currently operates facilities in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Illinois. A new farm in Ohio will open this summer, followed by a Texas facility in early 2019. BrightFarms says its operations use significantly less water, land and shipping fuel than centralized and field-grown suppliers, and its produce is pesticide-free and non-GMO. BrightFarms was a presenting company at the NCN Spring 2016 investor meeting.
California Farms (Los Angeles, California), a maker of plant-based beverages, has closed an additional $50 million in funding led by Ambrosia Investments, with existing investors Sun Pacific and Stripes Group participating. Founded in 2010, California makes refrigerated nut milk, non-dairy creamer, ready-to-drink coffee, and dairy- free probiotic yogurt drinks. Sandeep Patel, formerly a managing director at Barclays and Goldman Sachs, has been appointed chief financial officer.
Tea Drops (Los Angeles, California) has closed a $1.9 million seed round led by AccelFoods; co-investors included Halogen Ventures and Cue Ball Capital. Tea Drops offers an alternative form of tea preparation without teabags. The “drops” are made from pressed, organic loose-leaf teas that are finely ground and disintegrate in the cup when boiling water is added. The teas are lightly sweetened and flavored with organic spices, dried fruits and other natural ingredients.
Charlee Bear Products (Francis, Wisconsin), owner of Charlee Bear Dog Treats, has acquired Hound & Gatos (New York, New York), a nationally distributed line of canned pet food designed around the Paleolithic diet and without soy, grains, gluten or artificial additives. Hound & Gatos is distributed through independent pet retailers. A June editorial in Petfood Industry online noted that 31 M&A pet food deals took place so far in 2018, and that the familiar model of one pet food manufacturer or marketer buying another is evolving as food conglomerates purchase large or iconic pet food brands, and new, smaller companies buy up equally small brands.
Nestlé Waters (Paris, France) has acquired a majority stake in Princes Gate Spring Water Ltd., the eighth largest manufacturer of bottled water in the United Kingdom, where the £3.7 billion bottled water market (US$4.9 billion) has grown by 8 percent each year for the past five years, according to Nestlé. Princes Gate Spring Water was founded in 1991 by two brothers, David and Glyn Jones, on organic land farmed by generations of their family in Princes Gate, South Wales. This acquisition will strengthen Nestlé Waters’ position in the U.K.
Hearthside Food Solutions (Downers Grove, Illinois) has opened its fourth European nutrition bar production facility and doubled nutrition bar manufacturing capacity in its Boise, Idaho, facility. The company said both expansions were made in response to continued strong market growth in nutrition bars. Hearthside operates 25 production facilities, 13 of which make bars. The new European facility on Hearthside’s manufacturing and R&D campus in The Netherlands increases Hearthside’s European nutrition bar capacity more than 40 percent. Based on industry data cited by Hearthside, the overall bar segment is estimated at $2.9 billion, with nutrition bars representing $1.8 billion and growing at an 11 percent CAGR.
City Capital Ventures LLC announced a growth investment in Feel Good Foods Inc. (Brooklyn, New York.), alongside Feel Good Foods’ current ownership group led by the company’s founders, Vanessa Phillips and Tryg Siverson. Founded in 2011, Feel Good Foods provides chef-inspired, frozen better-for-you snacks, sides and entrees that are gluten-free and contain no added preservatives, GMO ingredients or fillers. Feel Good Foods products are sold in more than 4,000 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods Market, Safeway, Wegmans and ShopRite, with plans to launch in Target and select Costco stores this summer. Feel Good Foods was a presenting company at the Fall 2017 NCN Investor Meeting.
Fitplan Technologies (Los Angeles, California) has raised a $4.7 million funding round led by Lerer Hippeau, Bullpen, Advanceit and Imaginary VC. Founded in 2016 by nutrition and fitness experts Landon Hamilton and Cam Speck, the Fitplan app connects users with one-on-one tailored fitness plans designed by professional athletes, fitness models, Olympians, army veterans, wellness coaches, bodybuilders, cancer survivors and psychologists. “Fitplan is the only digital resource connecting fitness enthusiasts with the actual workout plans and methods of their favorite social influencers and athletes,” said Hamilton, co-founder and CEO.
Neurotechnology startup Dreem (San Francisco, California) announced $35 million in new funding to accelerate product development, invest in strategic R&D, and advance its sleep technology. Johnson & Johnson Innovation Inc. led the round, with Bpifrance participating. Last year Dreem introduced the Dreem headband to monitor brain activity, track sleep accurately and use auditory stimulation to help people fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. Dreem previously raised $22 million from entrepreneur Xavier Niel, biotech investor Dr. Laurent Alexandre, and the French insurance company MAIF. In total, Dreem has raised nearly $60 million in less than four years, according to the company.
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