Arbor Investments announced today the sale of its Fund III portfolio company Rise Baking to Olympus Partners. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Rise Baking is the preeminent manufacturer of premium cookies, dessert bars, artisan breads and flatbreads sold through blue-chip customers across the in-store bakery, foodservice, and convenience channels in North America.
In 2013, Arbor Investments and long-term industry veteran Mike Schultz set out to build a North American baking platform to produce premium-tasting, innovative baked goods with the manufacturing flexibility and scale to quickly respond to ever evolving customer needs. The platform, Rise Baking, was launched with the acquisition of New French Bakery and subsequently built through further strategic acquisitions and integrations including Best Maid Cookie Company, Choice Foods, Hudson Baking Company, Pita Bread Factory, and South Coast Baking. During its ownership, Arbor invested over $60 million in equipment and facilities. Today, Rise Baking is one of the fastest growing and largest independent bakeries in North America.
Arbor’s CEO Gregory Purcell stated, “Over the last 20 years we have developed deep expertise in baking and saw an opportunity to deliver innovation and better-quality products to retailers and in-store bakeries. Mike shared our vision and had the industry contacts and relationships that enabled us to build a phenomenal business.”
Arbor and Schultz identified high-quality, regional bakeries that fit their shared strategic vision. “Every company brought something different to the table,” stated Arbor Partner Brody Lynn. “Each acquisition brought a new customer base, a new channel, or new capabilities that we could then use to build a one-stop shop offering innovative, high-quality products on a national basis.”
Schultz led the integration of the six companies by building a team of industry veterans with expertise in sales, operations and finance. The team built a strong culture focused on the customer and operational excellence.
“Many of these customers we’d known for 25 years. They were looking for a partner that could provide innovative, labor-saving products while delivering superior customer service,” stated Schultz. “Arbor saw that same opportunity and was willing to make high-conviction bets with us. They provided the capital and resources to enhance our capabilities, which made it easier to successfully integrate acquisitions and achieve significant organic growth, ultimately creating an industry leading platform well positioned for the future. Their approach is unique in private equity and allowed us to focus on what we do best, which is run the business.”
Purcell continued, “Combining companies in different geographic locations is always a challenge. Mike’s leadership and relentless commitment to building a culture that always put the customer first was crucial to the success of Rise Baking.”
With the sale to Olympus, Arbor will realize a 7x gross return on their investment. Mike Schultz and senior leadership of Rise Baking will continue in their roles following the transition in ownership.
Harris Williams and Evercore acted as financial advisors to Arbor on the transaction and Winston & Strawn and Stikeman Elliott served as Arbor’s legal counsel.