Snack company Graze poised for £300m sale

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 | BUSINESS SALE

Retail snack specialist Graze is being positioned for a £300 million sale by its private-equity owner.

According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph, the healthy snack firm is being offered for sale by The Carlyle Group, a Washington DC-based asset management outfit.

Carlyle took a majority stake in Graze in 2012, with the company being valued at approximately £50 million at the time. The investment group has some experience of dealing with healthy lifestyle-related companies, having just sold health food retailer Holland & Barrett for £1.8 billion to Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s L1 vehicle.

Since its inception, Carlyle has held stakes in US brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Getty Images, Hertz and Kinder Morgan.

The investment group are reported to be encouraged by Graze’s yearly sales growth and the wider consumer trend for healthy eating. Last year, sales grew by 3.2 per cent to hit £70.3 million, though Graze’s pre-tax profits fell by 27 per cent thanks to heavy investment into expansion and a revamp of its website.

A formal sale process has been mooted to take place next year.

There is a trend for healthy snacking companies to be snapped up by larger groups: in 2015, for example, Lotus Bakeries swooped for Natural Balance Foods, the maker of Nakd bars, and Urban Fresh Foods, who make Bear fruit snacks.

Graze was incorporated in 2008 by Graham Bosher, co-founder of movie subscription service LoveFilm, and delivered customers small boxes of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and other snack foods to customers.

Since then, the company has a new boss, Anthony Fletcher, formerly of smoothie maker Innocent. He has overseen the launch of a line of snack products to UK and US retailers, including WHSmith, Sainsbury’s and Boots, and opened an online shop for one-off purchases.

Graze products are stocked in more than 7,500 stores across the US, and 9,000 of the UK’s high street shops.


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