Recent News and Announcements from Centre Partners
Los Angeles, Calif., October 19, 2005 Centre Partners, a leading middle market private equity firm with offices in Los Angeles and New York, today announced the sale of Garden Fresh Holdings, Inc. to affiliates of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. Garden Fresh is a leading national soup, salad, and pasta buffet restaurant chain operating under the trade names Souplantation® and Sweet Tomatoes®.
According to Centre Partners Managing Director Robert Bergmann, the firm acquired a controlling stake in Garden Fresh in a friendly, going private transaction in March 2004 in partnership with its management team. Co-investors included Fairmont Capital, Inc. and Northwestern Mutual.
Bergmann said, This transaction concludes a highly successful investment for Centre Partners and we credit the efforts of Garden Freshs talented management team led by Michael Mack and David Qualls. We have been active investors in the restaurant industry for many years, and have rarely seen a business respond so quickly to a set of new strategic priorities.
He added, Garden Freshs innovative management team and its outstanding execution, as well as the proven nature of the concept, bode well for the restaurant chains continued success.
Michael Mack, chief executive officer of Garden Fresh, commented: We made a great decision in partnering with Centre. The firms local presence, knowledge of our industry, and commitment to supporting our strategic plan were integral to our efforts to increase the value of our restaurant chain. We are very pleased with the results and appreciate the help that Centre provided us.
Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Garden Fresh operates 97 locations in 15 states and has over $240 million of annual revenues. Garden Fresh offers a broad variety of fresh food alternatives in an all-you-care-to-eat format. Garden Fresh has a history of strong financial performance, with same store sales growth in ten consecutive fiscal years.
The sale of Garden Fresh follows on the heels of another successful San Diego-based investment by Centre, Bumble Bee, which was sold to Connors Bros. Income Fund in 2004.
Centre Partners Managing Partner Bruce Pollack explained, While very different businesses, Garden Fresh and Bumble Bee both demonstrate what can be achieved when strong management teams are aligned with the right strategic and financial support.
Piper Jaffray & Co. served as exclusive financial advisor to Garden Fresh in connection with the transaction.
About Centre Partners
Centre Partners, founded in 1986, with offices in New York City and Los Angeles, is a leading private equity firm focused on making investments in middle market companies alongside management teams who have, or wish to have, meaningful economic stakes in the future success of their business. Centre provides those teams with access to Centres unique resources, which include its extended network of experienced and proven operating executives. Centre Partners and its affiliates have invested over $3 billion of equity capital in more than 80 businesses. Other current restaurant investments include Uno Chicago Grill and Johnny Rockets. Centre Partners is currently investing through its fourth fund, which has committed capital of approximately $780 million. Additional information about Centre Partners is available at www.centrepartners.com.
Media contact: Della Sweetman, Fleishman-Hillard, phone: 619-237-7721.