With an acquisition by private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg pending, it appears a painful period in the history of Arytza North America (ANA) is nearing its end. After well-publicized challenges at ANA during the 2010s, the Switzerland-based parent company Aryzta AG in 2019 and 2020 endured a bruising proxy fight leading to the decision to sell the North American and Latin American businesses.
ANA is hardly the first North American baking business to be sold following a difficult spell. While each company’s story is different, Hostess Brands, Sara Lee and Weston are among major US baking companies sold under such circumstances. Aryzta AG in 2020 weathered a bid valued at $872 million by Elliott Management Corp. Industry sources speculated an Elliott takeover would have resulted in the breakup of the Aryzta North American business. Lindsay Goldberg has agreed to pay $850 million for ANA alone.
How Lindsay Goldberg moves forward with Aryzta North America remains to be seen, but the firm’s history is promising. In addition to acquiring 50 “platform” businesses since 2001, LG has bought another 250 companies, strongly pointing to the possibility the firm will build value in ANA through further acquisitions. Meanwhile, even before the announced acquisition, ANA has emerged as an active and engaged participant in baking industry affairs. Tyson Yu, Aryzta’s chief executive officer, has joined the board of the American Bakers Association. Recent developments represent a hopeful sign for ANA and, by extension, the baking industry.