Audax Private Equity (“Audax”) announced today that it has acquired a controlling interest in Stonewall Kitchen (“The Company”), a leading provider of branded, specialty food products, from Centre Partners. The Company, founded in 1991 and headquartered in York, ME, consists of the flagship Stonewall Kitchen brand; the Tillen Farms brand of pickled vegetables and cocktail cherries; the Napa Valley Naturals brand of olive oils, culinary oils, balsamic vinegars and wine vinegars; the Montebello brand of artisan organic pasta imported from Italy; and the Legal Sea Foods brand of restaurant-quality seafood sauces and condiments. Stonewall Kitchen will continue to be led by existing management, with John Stiker remaining as the Chief Executive Officer, Lori King as the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer, and Natalie King as Executive Vice President.
John Stiker, CEO of Stonewall Kitchen, said, “This is an exciting time for Stonewall Kitchen. We’ve experienced a significant amount of growth over the last five years and, by partnering with Audax, we’ll look to provide even more innovative, high-quality, and delicious products for our customers and guests as we continue to grow going forward. Alongside Audax, we will be looking to continue our acquisition efforts while also growing our heritage Stonewall Kitchen brand. Our focus will be on identifying products and companies that match our high-quality standard for delicious food, and which preserve and enhance our core values and company culture.”
Jay Mitchell, Managing Director, Audax Group, said, “As a New England-based company ourselves, we’re excited to invest in Stonewall Kitchen and partner with John and the rest of the team. The culture and business practices at Stonewall Kitchen are a great match with Audax’ own philosophy and values, and we believe that our Buy & Build investment strategy, combined with their expertise in the specialty food industry, can transform the company.”
Baird acted as exclusive financial advisor to Stonewall Kitchen on the transaction and Greenberg Traurig, LLP acted as legal advisor. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Audax and Sawaya Partners and Lazard acted as buy-side support.