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Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn., has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire CytoSport Holdings Inc., Benicia, Calif., for approximately $450 million. The deal includes the Muscle Milk brand of shelf-stable, ready-to-drink protein beverages; a manufacturing facility in Benicia, Calif.; as well as several manufacturing and distribution agreements both domestically and abroad, according to Hormel Foods. Total 2014 annual sales for the Muscle Milk brand are expected to be approximately $370 million, it says.
This new partnership will create one of the foremost protein and sports nutrition brand platforms and give the company extensive domestic and international reach, CytoSport says. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals in the United States, and is expected to close within 30 days.
As a provider of premium protein products in the sports nutrition category, CytoSport's brands align with Hormel Foods’ focus on protein while further diversifying its portfolio and broadening the appeal to younger consumers, the companies say.
“Muscle Milk products will serve as a growth catalyst for our Specialty Foods segment, providing this division with a leading brand in the high-growth sports nutrition category,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods, in a statement. “The acquisition of CytoSport expands our offerings of portable, immediate, protein-rich foods and broadens our appeal with younger consumers. Muscle Milk premium protein products further enhance our balanced business model.”
The acquisition also enhances the resources and capabilities for CytoSport to further develop as an industry leader in innovation, consumer experience, marketing, sales, retailer relationships and distribution on a multinational scale, CytoSport notes.
CytoSport was founded in 1998 by father-son duo Greg and Mike Pickett and has remained a family-operated business from its inception. The company produces a complete line of sports nutrition products, including powders, shakes and bars under the Muscle Milk brand. The Pickett family will remain committed to the company's growth and will continue to be involved in day-to-day operations.
"We are excited for the future of the company and are fully confident that aligning our team's knowledge and experience in the sports nutrition world with the incredibly robust global strategies of Hormel Foods will help the company establish an even stronger portfolio of brands and products," said CytoSport Chairman and Founder Greg Pickett in a statement. "Over the last 15 years, we've developed one of the strongest brands in the industry and built an entirely new protein beverage category with Muscle Milk. This next step in the company's growth story will enable CytoSport to continue its leadership role in the industry and be a part of a global company with greater resources. My family is extremely proud of where the company sits today and grateful to the passionate people who have been a part of this extraordinary adventure."
San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners, CytoSport's strategic equity partner, also is selling its stake in the company. "We are fortunate to have partnered with the Pickett family and the management team to help drive the company's success over the last seven years," said Brian Krumrei, managing director at TSG Consumer Partners, in a statement. "During this period, Muscle Milk has established a leading position in the protein beverage category, and sales have more than quadrupled. This transaction represents an exceptional outcome for CytoSport, TSG Consumer Partners and Hormel Foods. We look forward to watching the company's continued success under new ownership."
CytoSport and Hormel Foods share similar corporate values and are passionate about making a difference in the lives of consumers and active lifestyle enthusiasts in local communities throughout the United States and the world, they say. The acquisition will allow for further community investment and growth through the sports nutrition and food industries.
"We view this new opportunity as a tremendous way to expand the CytoSport brand presence on the global scale and align with a company that shares our commitment to employees and consumers," said CytoSport Co-Founder Mike Pickett in a statement. "With the support from a multinational company like Hormel Foods, the entire CytoSport team is confident in the direction of the brands and looks forward to continuing to share the brands' experiences with consumers around the country and the world."