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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Trufora and Genesis Group, Inc.

Trufora, brings a new standard to dermatology by providing the market with skincare products that contain ingredients proven to be effective, safe, and non-irritating, and used at levels proven to achieve a visible, clinical benefit. The company provides products that allow every woman to feel confident, inspired, and beautiful in their skin. The products are made to simplify a women’s route and life with fewer steps but more results. Their consumer skincare line is free from more than 1,300 known toxins.

Trufora’s skincare line has been a featured product for HSN, Birchbox, and Ipsy to name a few. The company has also launched a membership model allowing customers to have access to their favorite Trufora products at a discounted price.

 

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A critical element of completing this transaction was identifying and marketing to a variety of potential acquirer classes on behalf of Trufora. We were pleased to see that three very different strategies each produced at least one eager acquirer to submit an LOI to acquire Trufora. One of the buyers had a marketing background heavily tied to Amazon, one of the platforms Trufora utilizes for its products. Another buyer was from China and looking to acquire a US brand to help increase their Asian beauty empire. The third buyer, Genesis Group, was an interesting fit given, its founder, Artem Mariychin’s background in the consumer predictive analytics space. Trufora believed that the partnership with the Genesis Group was the best fit for the future of the company and is positioned to grow the company to the next level. This supports the notion that the obvious buyer or the usual suspects are often not the best prospects.

The Genesis Group was founded by Artem Mariychin with the goal to invest in opportunities that could benefit from his experience. Artem is the co-founder and CEO of Zodiac. Nike acquired Zodiac, a predictive analytics company, in 2018. While CEO of Zodiac, Artem built a company that provided retailers with a tool to predict the long-term value of each customer instantly and accurately, also known as the customer’s zCLV or Zodiac’s Customer Lifetime Value. Marketers use the zCLV to discover who their future highest value customers will be so that they can retain those valuable customers long-terms and acquire similar customers.

Prior to Zodiac, Artem worked at Goldman Sachs, Highbridge Capital, 3G Capital, and Perry Creek Capital.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between NEWGROUP (PTY) LTD and an Undisclosed Acquirer for the Regal Pet Health Brand

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between NEWGROUP (PTY) LTD and an Undisclosed Acquirer for the Regal Pet Health Brand.

NEWGROUP (PTY) LTD is a private company owning several brands in the complementary medicines and natural beauty sections including Herbex. NEWGROUP brands trade throughout South Africa and internationally.  The Regal Pet Health brand – A division of NEWGROUP– is comprised of a range of herbal remedies that offer the pet owner the tools to address the health of their pets naturally.

Eddie Bisset, Chief Executive Officer for NEWGROUP, commented on the transaction saying, “I would like to thank the full Benchmark team for the smooth facilitation of the Regal Pet Health Brand sale. The level of professionalism displayed by everyone from start to finish is unparalleled. As a first time seller, we were guided every step of the way, with no pressure or unanswered questions. Every concern, question or change of strategy was met with prompt courteous answers.”

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The acquirer, is one of the top five companies in the Health and Beauty Industry with a growing footprint in the rest of Africa. The acquirer commented on the transaction: “It really was a pleasure working with Benchmark in facilitating this transaction. They were really on the button and extremely quick to give feedback in making things go as smooth and fast as possible.”

Tiaan Smit, Transaction Director at Benchmark International added, “Throughout the entire process all parties involved were communicative and collaborative, allowing the Benchmark team to execute a swift transaction. It was a pleasure to represent NEWGROUP (PTY) LTD in this transaction and we are delighted to have found a good home for the Regal Pet Health brand. On behalf of everyone at Benchmark International, we would like to wish all parties every success for the future.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Read's Uniforms and Brighton Partners Equity

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the transaction between Read’s Uniforms and Brighton Partners Equity. Read’s Uniforms, Inc., hereinafter referred to as “Read’s”, is an omnichannel distributor of uniforms and accessories for resale to all five major uniform verticals including medical, public safety, industrial, hospitality, and education. This multi-location provider has access to key brands in all major verticals. The company has ten locations throughout Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Eric Hutzler, Owner of Read’s Uniforms, mentioned regarding the transaction, “As founders, we were very pleased with the pipeline of qualified buyers that Benchmark was able to produce. We had multiple options to choose from, each with a unique upside to consider. Ultimately, it is highly unlikely we would have found any of these opportunities on our own.”

Brighton Partners Equity hereinafter referred to as “Brighton” is a private equity firm focused on regional distribution and service companies where geographic expansion is a key driver of future growth. Brighton takes a hands-on approach, bringing objective analysis and years of small, growth-oriented company experience to each investment opportunity. They pride themselves on being good communicators; with their management teams, lenders, and limited partners.

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Read’s was a perfect fit into the current portfolio of Brighton, and an excellent platform for Brighton to expand upon based on their investment thesis. The challenges that COVID presented during this transaction were not insignificant, causing all sides to come together and develop creative financing solutions when the debt markets were retracting. This deal is a cathartic end to the Hutzler’s vision and a welcome beginning to a new partnership that is sure to thrive in the coming years.

Benchmark International’s Managing Director, Dara Shareef commented regarding the deal completion, “Benchmark International is happy to have successfully facilitated the transaction between Read’s Uniforms and Brighton Partners. Deal fatigue could have impeded this transaction at many points, but both sides remained diligent in their efforts. We certainly look forward to the prospect of working with the Hutzlers and Brighton Partners again should the opportunity present itself.”

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Benchmark International Has Successfully Facilitated the Transaction of Aquatic Foods (PTY) LTD and National Foods (PTY) LTD to Econo Foods Holdings (PTY) LTD

Aquatic Foods (PTY) LTD was established in 1996 to service leading restaurants, hotels, caterers and wholesalers by supplying live, fresh and frozen seafood on demand. After securing a broad customer base in South Africa and earning a reputation as a reliable and sustainable supplier, Aquatic Foods (PTY) LTD made the decision to expand their product offering to existing customers, using their established distribution network.

This led to the incorporation of National Foods (PTY) LTD in 2012, which distributes chilled and frozen products such as meat, dairy and pastry products.

Aquatic Foods (PTY) LTD and National Foods (PTY) LTD have successfully established themselves as a leading food services organization with a majority market share in the Western Cape. The company’s modern cold storage facilities and sophisticated stock control system enable it to hold significant inventory, thereby reducing stock risks and ensuring reliable and consistent delivery of high-quality products.

Michael Niese, founder and shareholder of both Aquatic Foods and National Foods, commented on the transaction saying, “Considering the transaction size and the respective intricacies thereof it was concluded exceptionally well without any difficulties. This I attribute to the skill and productivity of Benchmark International and the spirit of Econo Foods.”

The acquirer, Econo Foods (PTY) LTD boasts a nationwide chain of 18 outlets specializing in frozen and chilled food products. With over 100 refrigerated trucks operating among their five distribution centers, they successfully supply the wholesale and foodservice trades with frozen, chilled, and grocery lines throughout the Free State, Gauteng, Northern Cape, North West, and Lesotho regions.

Pleased with the outcome, Henk Smith of Econo Foods (PTY) LTD said “It was a pleasure to work with the Benchmark International team.”

Tiaan Smit, Transaction Director at Benchmark International added, “Throughout the process, both our client and the acquirer were exceptionally responsive, thorough, and professional, resulting in discussions progressing quickly and delivering a fantastic and timely result for both parties. I am delighted that our client was able to monetize the great business he has built while handing the keys over to an organization that will carry on his legacy as Econo Foods grows the business to the next level.”

On behalf of everyone at Benchmark International, we would like to wish all parties every success for the future.

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M&A for R+D: what all businesses can learn from consumer goods companies

Recent industry analysis has highlighted a number of complex and significant trends within the consumer goods sector. In a sector powered by names such as Nestlé, Pepsi and Unilever, research shows that R+D budgets are diminishing as a share of revenues, particularly in comparison with highly innovative sectors such as technology. This trend is coupled with the progress made by smaller, newer brands which are eating into the market share in a range of sectors.

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