Whole Earth Brands enters into definitive agreement to acquire Wholesome Sweeteners

Whole Earth Brands, Inc, a global food company enabling healthier lifestyles by providing access to premium plant-based sweeteners, flavour enhancers and other foods, has announced that it has executed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the issued and outstanding capital stock of WSO Investments, Inc, the holding company for Wholesome Sweeteners Incorporated the number one organic sweetener brand in North America.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by Whole Earth Brands’ and Wholesome’s Boards of Directors. The initial purchase price for the transaction is USD $180 million in cash. Management expects that this acquisition will be immediately accretive to earnings following the closing. The transaction is expected to close during the Company’s first quarter 2021, contingent on completion of a customary review under antitrust laws, including the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in the US.

Wholesome is the US leader in organic, plant-based and fair-trade certified sweeteners, including sugar, honey, agave nectar, allulose and other liquid sweetener products. With a proven track record of sustainability, innovation and profitable growth, including several new product lines that have been launched in the past few years, Wholesome has been a leader in fair trade, non-GMO organics, staying on the cutting edge of eco-friendly agriculture since its founding in 2001. Wholesome holds a 76% share in the organic granulated sugar segment of the organic and natural channel and has achieved retail sales growth of approximately 52% over the 52-week period ending 1 November 2020.

“Consumers are demanding more dietary options that enable healthier lifestyles, and Whole Earth Brands’ business strategy is built on meeting those needs through our innovative product pipeline and global distribution network,” said Irwin D Simon, executive chairman of Whole Earth Brands. “Sweets are a joyful experience in cultures around the world, and consumers are demanding more sweetener options that fit within their individual health and dietary needs so that they can continue to enjoy life’s everyday moments and the celebrations that bring us together. Whole Earth Brands is delivering on that expectation by becoming the leader in plant-based and alternative sweeteners around the world, and we are looking forward to integrating Wholesome and growing the world-class brands within our Whole Earth Brands platform.”

“Wholesome will mark our second strategic acquisition since our business combination in June of this year and we are excited about the platform we are building across the sweetener category in North America,” said Albert Manzone, Whole Earth Brands chief executive officer. “Wholesome’s leading position in organic sugar, honey, agave and allulose is a perfect complement to our existing portfolio of natural and alternative sweeteners. This transaction brings us additional scale that we believe will enhance our competitive position and help us expand consumers’ access to the delicious foods they love. We look forward to working with Nigel and the Wholesome team.”

Nigel Willerton, chief executive officer at Wholesome Sweeteners, commented: “Wholesome is the #1 organic brand in the natural channel. The Wholesome brand was built on a mission of supporting farmers and to date has paid nearly $23 million in Fair Trade premiums. We share a common vision with Whole Earth Brands – to support consumers’ health and wellness goals by providing innovative products that they can feel good about and enjoy. Our business aligns with the powerful movements in the US and around the world. Our extendable brands create opportunities for significant growth through channel, product and category expansion. This combination with Whole Earth Brands brings together like-minded companies with complementary strengths to unlock powerful value in the organic and natural category.”

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