Global nutrition group Glanbia P.L.C. has reached an agreement to acquire SlimFast and its sister company HNS from Kainos Capital in a transaction valued at $350 million.
SlimFast, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is a weight management and health and wellness brand whose products include ready-to-drink and ready-to-mix powder products as well as high protein, high fiber, gluten-free meal replacement shakes and smoothies. The company’s products are distributed primarily in retail channels across the United States and the United Kingdom. SlimFast had adjusted EBITDA of $24 million in fiscal 2017 on sales of $212 million.
Glanbia said it plans to operate SlimFast as part of its Performance Nutrition segment.
Kainos acquired SlimFast from Unilever in 2014. Andrew S. Rosen, managing partner of Kainos, said the private equity firm has done a great job revitalizing what was an orphan brand within a large multinational company over the past four years.
“Our acquisition of SlimFast came with no employees or systems,” Mr. Rosen said. “Behind the leadership of (chief executive officer) Chris Tisi, who we partnered with when we invested in his company HNS in 2014, we quickly built a 60-plus person team in the U.S. and the U.K.”
Robert W. Sperry, a partner at Kainos, added, “Chris led our very talented team in the development of a comprehensive game plan for restoring SlimFast to its former success. This included redesigning the packaging across the product range and leveraging the great clinical studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of its products. We also relaunched advertising campaigns that resonated with our consumers and supported innovative new product platforms.
Kainos Capital may have stopped the bleeding in Slim-Fast sales, getting it to $212 million in 2017, but it didn’t come close to restoring sales to their peak levels of $600 million around the turn of the century when founder Daniel Abraham sold it to Unilever. We’ll see the the MLM Glanbia can do better. The brand encountered heavy competition from the Atkins brand about 15 years ago, coupled with inadequate advertising/marketing support.