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J.W. Childs Completes Purchase of NutraSweet Company, Agreement Includes Revolutionary New Sweetener Neotame
CHICAGO (May 25, 2000) - J.W. Childs Equity Partners II, L.P. today announced that it has completed the purchase of the NutraSweet Company from Monsanto, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pharmacia Corporation, for $440 million in cash. The sale includes the sweetener business, the NutraSweet® brand name and the revolutionary new sweetener, neotame.
Nick E. Rosa, formerly a senior vice president with Monsanto, will serve as president and CEO of the NutraSweet Company, the world's largest producer of aspartame. In addition, NutraSweet's approximately 500 employees have all been offered positions with the new company.
"We are pleased about adding the NutraSweet Company to our portfolio of food and beverage companies," said Tim Healy, a managing director of J.W. Childs, who will serve as chairman of the NutraSweet Company. "The high-intensity sweetener market is the fastest-growing segment of the global sweetener industry. We see a major opportunity to build on NutraSweet's brand equity and its track record of delivering innovative products, operational excellence and superior customer value to the sweetener industry."
As executives at NutraSweet in the early 1980s, both Healy and Rosa were instrumental in successfully launching NutraSweet, which has become the global market leader in the $1.1 billion worldwide high-intensity sweetener market.
"The NutraSweet Company revolutionized the sweetener industry in 1981 with the introduction of aspartame," explained Rosa, "and we intend to do it again with neotame when we receive approval from various regulatory agencies around the world."
Neotame is a new-generation, high-intensity sweetener, designed to deliver a clean, sweet taste like sugar, with no added calories. In addition to being great tasting and functional, neotame's potency - it is 40 times sweeter than NutraSweet and 8,000 times sweeter than sugar - is expected to deliver substantial value to food and beverage manufacturers because it will enable them to use significantly lower levels than other sweetening alternatives.
Joining Rosa on the management team will be Craig Petray, senior vice president of global sales and marketing, and William DeFer, senior vice president of global operations; both of whom have more than 10 years of experience with the NutraSweet business, and Chief Financial Officer William Schumacher, formerly with Select Beverages. Members of the new management team are also investors with J.W. Childs in the purchase of NutraSweet, and have a significant ownership stake in the business.
"We will continue delivering exceptional value and building on our long-term relationships with customers on a global basis," said Petray. "We will do this by producing the highest quality aspartame in the world, continually improving operational efficiencies to remain the lowest cost producer and by providing unprecedented technical, R&D and regulatory support."
Headquartered in Chicago, the NutraSweet Company stands alone in its ability to provide customers with a full value portfolio, including superior quality product manufactured at a state-of-the-art facility in Augusta, Ga., unrivaled technical, R&D and regulatory support, competitive pricing and an experienced management team. In 1999, BrandWeek magazine named NutraSweet® one of the top 100 brands of the century. NutraSweet® brand aspartame is sold in more than 100 countries and used in approximately 5,000 products by 250 million people on a regular basis today.
J.W. Childs Associates, L.P., a leading private investment firm located in Boston, manages $1.5 billion in capital. The firm focuses on acquiring and growing middle-market companies in partnership with management and has substantial experience in the food, beverage and food ingredient industries. Current portfolio companies and former investments include Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Empire Kosher Poultry, General Nutrition Centers and Chevys "Fresh Mex®" Mexican restaurant chain, plus many non-food consumer companies.