Udi’s Healthy Foods announced yesterday that Smart Balance will be acquiring Udi’s in a transaction that is expected to close in July. In an e-mail from Denise M. Sirovatka to the Udi's ambassadors she wrote, "We are very excited about the partnership with Smart Balance, it is a positive move for our brand – it will improve speed to market with innovative new products, increase the number of products for our foodservice division and increase availability for our consumers."
Here is the story from the Denver post which you can also read online here.
New Jersey-based Smart Balance today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Denver-based Udi's Healthy Foods for $125 million - an acquisition it says will enable it to offer "the most comprehensive portfolio of gluten-free products."
Smart Balance had previously purchased Quebec-based Glutino Food Group, a Canadian maker of gluten-free foods.
Etai Bar-on, co-chief executive of Udi's Foods, said that while Udi's Healthy Foods has been sold, Udi's Foods will remain in Denver and is committed to its thousands of customers in
"The Bar-ons affirm they will continue their local restaurant, bakery and catering businesses in Colorado," the family said.
Udi's Foods includes six restaurants, along with the bakery and catering business in the metro area
"We really love our local businesses. It gives us endless pleasure to feed our neighbors daily," said Etai Bar-on.
Stephen Hughes, chairman and chief executive of Smart Balance, said Udi Bar-on, founder of Udi's, partnered with E&A Industries three years ago to launch a groundbreaking gluten-free bakery line.
"Today the brand is the leading devoted gluten-free brand with a very loyal following in gluten-free bread," said Hughes.
"Udi's leading bread and bakery portfolio is the perfect compliment to Glutino's wide range of bakery products, and broadens our natural foods portfolio which includes Earth Balance, Glutino and now Udi's," said Hughes.
Smart Balance noted that in addition to Udi's being the leading brand in gluten-free bread, it markets other gluten-free products in the bakery category, as well as frozen pizza and granola.
In the 12 month period ending March 31, Udi's sales were $60.9 million .
Devin Anderson, chief executive of Udi's Healthy Foods, said the acquisition by Smart Balance represents "an outstanding opportunity to bring together two companies which share similar corporate visions, principles and growth objectives..."
"Combining our organizations will allow Udi's to continue on its significant growth path and leverage Smart Balance's strategic leadership," said Anderson.
Smart Balance's Hughes said the gluten-free food segment is now a "cornerstone" strategy for Smart Balance.
"This acquisition will be transformational to our company, as it will position Smart Balance as a leader in gluten-free, accelerate our growth rate, and further diversify our mix to high-growth natural brands."
Hughes has deep Colorado roots.
He was chief executive of Celestial Seasoning from 1997 until the sale to Hain in 2000 and founded Smart Balance under the original name of Boulder Specialty Brands in 2005.
The company has made two previous major acquisitions: GFA Brands, Inc. in 2007, makers of Smart Balance and Earth Balance, and Glutino Food Group in 2011, then the leading gluten-free brand.
Hughes said that the 2012 acquisition of Udi's Healthy Foods, "the current leading devoted gluten-free brand," marks the company's third major acquisition..
"Boulder Specialty Brands started in Colorado and we are fortunate to have such a strong, continuing presence here," said Hughes. "The Front Range has long been the epicenter of the natural products industry where many natural food brands, such as Celestial Seasoning, Silk, Horizon and now Udi's, found their start."
Smart Balance said it expects to close the transaction for Udi's in July.
Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939 or firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter@HowardPankratz