Quick flip for MidOcean

MidOcean Partners, a New York and London-based buyout firm spun out of Deutsche Bank, has agreed to sell its majority stake in US-based Vitaquest, a maker of specialty nutritional products, less than a year after its acquisition.

Hong Kong-based biotechnology company CK Life Sciences International, which is controlled by magnate Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Group, is buying Vitaquest on an enterprise value of US$345m and paying a reported US$166m for an 80% stake.

HL Kam, chief executive of CK Life Sciences, said: “Vitaquest is [our] first acquisition in the US and represents an attractive platform for expansion. As the leader in the custom nutraceutical market, we believe Vitaquest is well positioned to continue its strong growth trajectory as the supplier of choice to third parties as well as to other companies within CK Life Sciences and the broader Cheung Kong Group.”

MidOcean took a reported 60% stake in Vitaquest in March using US$163.5m of debt arranged by Bank of America, with the remainder held by Keith Frankel, the company’s executive chairman and founder.

Separately, MidOcean has put another US portfolio company, Jenny Craig, on the auction block. The dieting chain, majority owned by ACI Capital and MidOcean, has hired Goldman Sachs to run the auction and explore other options.

The company is reportedly worth as much as US$500m, or 8x–10x Ebitda, up from US$115m in 2002.