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Vestar Takes Majority Stake in Dr. Praeger’s, Installs Ex Pinnacle Foods CEO as Chair

Private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners announces today it has made a majority investment into Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods. Vestar advisor Jeffrey Ansell, previously CEO of Pinnacle Foods – a $3 billion corporation whose portfolio includes Birds Eye, Earth Balance, EVOL, and Gardein – will join the Dr. Praeger’s board as Chairman.

Prior to that Ansell spent 25 years in leadership positions at Procter & Gamble. Headquartered in New Jersey, Dr. Praeger’s is led by Larry Praeger, CEO, and Adam Somberg, President, who will continue in their current roles.

“We are extremely proud of the high growth better-for-you food brand our families have built,” said Mr. Praeger. “When our fathers co-founded the company 25 years ago, they were truly innovators. In today’s competitive market, our partnership with Vestar will help provide the financial backing, industry relationships and category expertise to continue to build on our momentum.”

Dr Praeger's
©Dr Praeger’s

Dr. Praeger’s offers a range of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free, Kosher, and non-GMO foods. The company’s vegetable-focused lines of veggie burgers, meat alternative burgers, sausages and nuggets, kids Littles, appetizers, snacks, breakfasts and sides are sold in leading food retailers, in stores and online, nationwide

“The U.S. better-for-you market has never been stronger, and we are excited to partner with a company that has been at the forefront of this trend and knows the market intimately,” said Winston Song, Managing Director and Co-Head of Consumer at Vestar. “Larry and Adam have done a tremendous job building the company and developing new products that speak to today’s consumers – flexitarians, vegetarians, vegans and those who seek a healthier lifestyle. We look forward to partnering with the Praeger and Somberg families as well as the senior management team to strategically accelerate growth.”

DrPraegers Plant-Based Pepperoni
©Dr Praeger’s

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel and Piper Sandler & Co. acted as financial advisor to Vestar. Giannuzzi Lewendon served as legal counsel and J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor to Dr. Praeger’s.

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