Centre Partners sees 6x return on Bellisio exit

  • Frozen food company sold for $1.08 bln
  • Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods outbids rivals for Bellisio
  • Centre Partners bought company in 2011

Centre Partners Management is making more than 6x its invested capital in the pending sale of Bellisio Foods Inc for $1.08 billion, a person familiar with the deal said.

The New York firm drew interest from Nomad and Pinnacle Foods in an auction advised by Morgan Stanley and Moelis, but the buyer emerged from overseas.

Charoen Pokphand Foods of Thailand emerged as the buyer of Bellisio, a fast-growing Minneapolis-based frozen-food company that operates in North America.

The deal, expected to close in December, will mark Charoen Pokphand Foods’ entry into the U.S. market. The company now operates in 18 countries in Asia and Europe.

Reports about a sale of Bellisio Foods surfaced in September, with price talk around $800 million for the $85 million EBITDA company.

Deals, offerings, licensing

Centre Partners teamed with Chief Executive Joel Conner to buy Bellisio Foods in 2011. Conner is currently chairman of the company.

Since then, it’s completed strategic acquisitions, grown its product offerings, and inked license agreements for established brands, the company said in a statement.

Its new brands in the past five years include Boston Market, Chili’s, Atkins, Eating Well and Eat!, as well as its Michelina’s value brand. The company’s revenue doubled during Centre’s hold time.

Bruce Pollack, a managing partner of Centre Partners, said in a statement that Bellisio Foods achieved “tremendous enhancements to profitability” and that CP Foods will be an ideal partner for Bellisio for its next phase of growth.

Action Item: Contact Centre Partners, http://www.centrepartners.com/contact-us/

 Bellisio Foods. Photo courtesy of the company.