Gene Naumovsky

While some parent companies refocus operations, certain founders purchase previously sold companies to start anew.

After Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy, Matt McLean initiated a buyback of Uncle Matt’s Organic, a company he founded and sold to Dean in 2017, according to Forbes. Working with venture capital company Renewal Funds, McLean bought his company back for $7.25 million.

Surprisingly, McLean isn’t the only founder returning to their original company these days. Hershey is now selling the Krave brand to Sonoma Brands, a company ran by Jon Sebastiani, Krave’s founder. Hershey originally bought the brand for $220 million.

After being acquired by Campbell Soup Co. in 2012, Bolthouse Farms was bought for $510 million by an affiliate of Butterfly Equity, a firm in which former Bolthouse CEO Jeff Dunn is an operating partner.

​As different parent companies refocus operations into “core” sectors, many times newly acquired brands are dropped, as they drain resources. While most founders sell and walk, some have found profits in rebuying their creations, whether it be in revamping operations or selling again at a higher price.

​Speaking on his success, McLean said, “If you told me three years ago after selling to a publicly traded, multi-billion dollar CPG [consumer packaged goods] leader that I’d buy Uncle Matt’s Organic back out of bankruptcy, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

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Economics, Finance and Investing

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