Riverside’s private equity

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Riverside in Right Place at Right Thyme for Latest Acquisition November 13, 2008

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Type:
Add-on acquisition for platform HerbThyme Farms

Key Stats:
30th Acquisition of 2008
206th Acquisition Overall

Fund Family:
2003 Riverside Capital Appreciation Fund (“RCAF ’03”)

The Herbal Garden, Inc. (www.theherbalgarden.com)

Headquartered in Wauconda, Illinois (near Chicago); additional distribution center in Rock Hill, South Carolina

  • 132 employees
  • Second-largest supplier of freshly packaged herbs and mixes of herbs in the U.S. Provides 19 herb varieties to foodservice groups, grocery stores and bulk retailers across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southern regions
  • Focus on environmentally friendly growing methods since the Company’s founding. Organic products comprise significant portion of sales.
  • Herbs are sourced from FDA/USDA certified farms that undergo extensive third-party certification and quality verification. Herbal Garden is known for its superior product quality and strong customer service.

Of Note:
The Herbal Garden is the fourth value added fresh produce company in which Riverside has invested, along with GreenLine Foods (2006) and Green Glen Products (2007). Herbal Garden is an add-on to HerbThyme Farms, the largest grower and distributor of fresh herbs in North America, which RCAF ’03 acquired in April 2008.

Quotes:
Tim Gosline, Riverside Partner

“Riverside welcomes The Herbal Garden as its fourth investment in the value added fresh produce market. Herbal Garden and HerbThyme Farms are well positioned to continue to provide industry-leading service and quality as a result of their complementary geographic coverage, customer base and expanded sourcing capability. Riverside and management believe that this combination will result in increased market coverage and stronger growth, as well as an ability to better serve our customers.”

Raju Boligala, HerbThyme Farms Chief Executive Officer

“Herbal Garden is a great strategic fit with HerbThyme as the company’s leading Midwest presence will allow geographic expansion into this area. Many customers seek local delivery; with Herbal Garden – a Midwest-based supplier – the HerbThyme brand will be more easily accessible in the Midwest.”

Vern Meyer, The Herbal Garden Founder and Chief Executive Officer

“I look forward to working with Riverside and HerbThyme’s team. We are confident this strategic alliance will continue the care and customer focus of Herbal Garden that has been a core value of the business since I started the company in my suburban Chicago backyard. Together, we now have 500 domestic acres of organic herb production and wonderful opportunities to expand into new geographies and markets.”

Riverside Team:
Tim Gosline, Partner; Matt Dailey, Principal; Ashok Reddy, Senior Associate; Simon Ng, Analyst.

The Riverside Company (www.riversidecompany.com or www.riversideeurope.com)

The Riverside Company is the largest global private equity firm focused on the smaller end of the middle market (“SEMM”) and is one of the industry’s most experienced leveraged buyout investors. Riverside invests in premier SEMM companies valued up to $150 million and partners with strong management teams to build companies through acquisitions and value-added growth. Since its founding in 1988, the firm has invested in 206 transactions with a total enterprise value of $4.4 billion. Riverside’s current portfolio in North America, Europe and Asia consists of 68 companies with combined annual sales of $3.2 billion, EBITDA of $517 million and more than 14,000 employees. Riverside offers certainty to close and can complete acquisitions in as little as 45 days, thanks to its more than $2 billion of capital under management, over 180 professionals in 18 offices (Atlanta, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Eindhoven, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Madrid, Munich, New York, Prague, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm, Tokyo and Warsaw), and long-standing relationships with partner lenders. Six of the firm’s nine mature vintages are currently top quartile, and Riverside’s investors include the world’s leading pension funds, endowments, funds-of-funds, insurance companies and banks.

HerbThyme (www.herbthyme.com)

HerbThyme Farms is headquartered in Compton, California. It is the largest year-round grower, shipper and marketer of conventional and certified organic fresh culinary herbs in the United States. HerbThyme has over 500 acres of conventional farmland and 100 acres dedicated to the growing of USDA certified organic herbs. HerbThyme grows and ships over 5 million pounds of fresh herbs annually. Fresh herbs are grown domestically on its farms in California as well as sourced internationally from certified growers.

The Herbal Garden, Inc. (www.theherbalgarden.com)

Founded and managed by a professional chef, The Herbal Garden has been passionately growing high quality fresh herbs and edible flowers since 1986. As devoted farmers and stewards of the earth, the company grows herbs and flowers using only natural, earth-friendly and organic methods. The company is headquartered in Wauconda, Illinois with an additional distribution center in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Herbal Garden’s herbs can be found at leading grocers and foodservice distributors throughout the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast United States.

Media Contact

Stephanie Fraser
Marketing Consultant
The Riverside Company
Cleveland: +1 216 344 1267
London: +44 20 3077 1923