CANADA – Private equity firm TPG Growth has acquired a majority stake in Canadian low-sugar confectioner SmartSweets for a sum estimated to amount to US$360 million.
SmartSweets was launched in 2016 by Vancouver native Tara Bosch after she experimented with various gummy recipes in her kitchen, hoping to create a healthier alternative to her favorite candies, such as Skittles and Starbursts.
Bosch, who previously made on the list of Forbes 30 Under 30, has made SmartSweets one of the fastest growing brands in the non-chocolate category across Canada and the U.S.
Within four years of operation, the low sugar confectioner was able to grow its sales revenues to about US$100 million.
The rise of the company comes as health-conscious consumers increasingly cut or reduce sugar from their diets.
Following the sale of a majority stake to TPG, Tara Bosch will step down from her position as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
She will however remain as an investor, taking a seat on the company’s the board where she will work on innovation and “Strategic inititaves”.
Tara Bosch’s position, according to a report by just food will be taken over by Douglas MacFarlane, the former CEO of Canada’s Voortman Bakery.
Prior to his four-year stint at Voortman, MacFarlane had previously worked in senior managerial positions at US FMCG company Clorox and Canadian protein group Marple Leaf Foods.
“I am so excited to help write the next chapter of the SmartSweets story with Tara, SmartSweets family, and TPG,” said MacFarlane.
“Five years ago, Tara disrupted the candy aisle with a low sugar, radically better choice to our favourite treats.”
Commenting on the new appointment, Tara said, “The squad and I are beyond excited to welcome Douglas to the rocket-ship. I cannot wait to partner with Douglas to further our long-term strategy.”
TPG said the transaction was carried out through its middle market and growth equity platform, TPG Growth.
Commenting on the transaction, Heather Smith Thorne, Partner at TPG Growth said, “Beyond taste and ingredients, a brand’s staying power relies on its ability to engage and identify with customers.”
Thorne further noted that Tara and her team have formed a deep and authentic connection with their customers.
This connection according to Thorne, has translated to a “tremendous sales momentum and a leadership position in the better for you movement.”
TPG Capital, previously known as Texas Pacific Group, is an American private equity firm which focuses on leveraged buyouts and growth capital.
The firm manages investment funds in growth capital, venture capital, public equity and debt investments
As at 2019, the company which operates 14 offices globally, boasted of managing assets that were in excess of US$83 billion.
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