Private equity firm acquires thaw-and-serve baked foods maker

by Eric Schroeder
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Give & Go products
 Give and Go Prepared Foods brands include Two-Bite, Kimberley's Bakeshoppe, The Worthy Crumb Pastry Co., Mason St. Bakehouse and Prime Pastries.

TORONTO — Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (THL) has acquired Give and Go Prepared Foods Corp. from OMERS Private Equity. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1989, Give and Go Prepared Foods is an Etobicoke, Ont.-based maker of thaw-and-serve baked foods. The company’s products include Two-Bite Brownies, Cinnamon Crunchies, Butter Tarts and Two-Bite Coffee Cakes. The company markets its products throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, Europe, Australia and Japan. Give and Go operates four production facilities located in Toronto.

Concurrent with the closing of the acquisition by Thomas H. Lee, Give and Go said it has completed the acquisition of Create-a-Treat Ltd., NAFTA Foods and Packaging Inc., and related entities. Collectively known as NAFTA CAT, the entities will form a new division inside Give and Go called “Create-a-Treat.”

Create-A-Treat products
Give and Go has also completed the acquisition of Create-a-Treat, which makes edible craft products for celebrations and holidays.

Based in Toronto, NAFTA CAT makes edible craft products for celebrations and holidays, and is the largest North American manufacturer of gingerbread house kits. NAFTA CAT sells under the Create-a-Treat and Orbit brands, as well as under private label brands. NAFTA CAT operates three manufacturing facilities in Toronto.

Both Give and Go and NAFTA CAT sell predominately through the in-store bakeries of North American retailers and grocers. The executive team of NAFTA CAT will be assuming leadership roles at Give and Go.

Joel Flatt, Give & Go
Joel Flatt, c.e.o. of Give and Go

“We are excited about our new partnership with THL whose extensive experience in the consumer goods sector will be a terrific asset for the company as we continue to invest in innovative new products and accelerate our acquisition strategy,” said Joel Flatt, chief executive officer of Give and Go. “NAFTA CAT is an excellent example of the type of acquisition we are seeking in order to grow our platform and provide our customers with better service and more integrated offerings across a broad range of baked goods categories. I am confident that we found the perfect partners to aggressively expand and scale the Give and Go platform.”

Jeff Swenson, managing director of THL, added, “Joel Flatt and the Give and Go management team have created a winning portfolio of on-trend, value-added solutions for their customers in the in-store bakery. The company has been a pioneer in innovation across sweet baked goods categories. We look forward to partnering with Joel and are excited to invest behind opportunities that will further strengthen Give and Go’s leading customer value proposition.”

CTI Foods soup
In addition to Give and Go, THL’s portfolio includes CTI Foods, a provider of food solutions to restaurant chains in North America with products including value-added proteins, soups and dressings.

Last December, media reports surfaced suggesting Hostess Brands was in talks to acquire Give and Go. In September 2015, Reuters reported that Give and Go’s owner, OMERS Private Equity, was exploring a sale or initial public offering. According to Reuters, the sale was expected to bring as much as $800 million to OMERS, which acquired Give and Go from private equity firm Kilmer Capital Partners in 2007.

In addition to Give and Go, THL’s portfolio includes CTI Foods, a provider of food solutions to restaurant chains in North America with products including value-added proteins, soups and dressings.
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