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Leading Franchise Owner is First Australian Investment for The Riverside Company May 03, 2010

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Big Boost For Boost

(May 03, 2010) – The Boost Investment Group (BIG), owners of Boost Juice Bars and Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, today finalized an agreement for U.S.-based private equity firm The Riverside Company to acquire a majority stake in Boost Investment Group.

Boost Juice Bars was started by Janine and Jeff Allis in 2000 and has expanded from one juice bar to over 250 stores in 14 countries. Two years ago, BIG acquired a majority stake in the growing fresh Mexican chain Salsa’s, taking it from four to 20 stores in the last 18 months.

Boost founder Janine Allis is excited about the deal and its benefits for the company.

Riverside’s Australian efforts are being led by Partner Simon Feiglin, who joined Riverside in 2007 and has been working closely with the RAF team since 2008.

“It has been an amazing journey over the past 10 years, but there comes a time when you need to refresh and challenge yourself and for the business to fulfill its full potential on the world stage,” Allis said. “Strategically, we are well positioned to become the dominant force in juice bars around the world, and locally we are ready to add more quality retail brands to our group. We believe Riverside’s strength in acquisitions, franchising and international platforms make them the perfect fit for us. In fact, we have so much confidence in the next stage of the business that we have kept the majority of our shares in the new partnership with Riverside.”

Jeff Allis will continue to run Boost Investment Group as CEO, and Janine will continue her strong involvement working with the executive team. All existing board members and shareholders, Geoff Harris, Marc and Daniel Besen and Rod Young, will continue to hold shares in the new entity.

The investment in Boost marks the first Australian acquisition in Riverside’s history and is part of a broader strategy of expanding the Riverside Asia Fund into the Asia-Pacific region. Boost also delivers a well-known and highly regarded brand that has a growing set of concepts in the rapidly expanding Australian healthy quick service retail food space. Boost offers premium products, and consumers have demonstrated loyalty to its high-quality offerings even during the global financial crisis, where it achieved record sales.

Riverside has a strong history of growing companies throughout the world. The firm is delighted with the possibilities presented by the Boost acquisition.

“What a great way to get started investing in Australia,” said Riverside Partner Simon Feiglin, who is based in the firm’s Melbourne office. “Boost is a high-profile company that’s enjoyed a great track record of success by virtue of providing exceptional products and outstanding service, led by Jeff and Janine Allis and a top-notch management team. We look forward to working with the Boost team to make the company even bigger and better.”

Boost is the third platform investment for Riverside Asia Fund I, which applies Riverside’s proven strategies and tactics of middle market investing to the developed economies of the Asia-Pacific region. Riverside plans to continue investing in Australia for the long term.

“As the Boost opportunity demonstrates, Australia is home to many successful business models that have great potential to be expanded abroad,” said Riverside Managing Partner Stuart Baxter. “We’re excited about working with this skilled management team, which can leverage our global resources to build a global brand.”

Working for Riverside with Feiglin on the transaction were Adam Friend, Senior Associate, and Hiro Wakashita, Associate. Commonwealth Bank of Australia provided debt financing for the deal, and Jones Day provided legal counsel. KPMG and Wingate Group advised on the transaction.

The Riverside Company (www.riversidecompany.com or www.riversideeurope.com)
The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm focused on acquiring leading small and medium-sized enterprises (with a value of up to $200 million) and partnering with strong management teams to enhance the success of its companies through acquisitions and organic growth. Since its founding in 1988, the firm has invested in 228 transactions with a total enterprise value of $5.0 billion/€4.2 billion. The investment portfolio in North America, Europe and Asia includes 71 companies with annual sales totaling $3.3 billion/€2.5 billion, EBITDA of $506 million/€384 million and more than 13,000 employees (June 2009). Riverside offers the resources to complete acquisitions smoothly - thanks to its more than $3.0 billion/€2.4 billion in assets under management, its more than 180 professionals in 19 offices (Atlanta, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Luxembourg, Madrid, Melbourne, Munich, New York, Prague, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm, Tokyo and Warsaw) and its longstanding relationships with partner lenders. According to Thomson Venture Economics, eight of Riverside’s nine mature funds rank in the top 25% of all funds (as of 30 June 2009). The firm’s investors include the world’s leading pension funds, endowments, funds of funds, insurance companies and banks.

Media Contact

Keith Davisson
Director, Global Marketing & Communications
The Riverside Company
+1 216 535 1777