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Best Of British Crisps Brand Tyrells Acquired For Third Time since 2008 By Texan Firm Amplify Foods In £100m Deal

Investcorp, the alternative investment group who say they have made a staggering nine successful exits in Europe in the last 12 months alone announced yesterday that it had agreed the sale of Crisps Topco Ltd, aka Tyrells crisps, for an enterprise value of £300m.

Investcorp only bought Tyrells in 2010, from private equity firm Langholm Capital, in a deal worth £100m. Lagholm had purchased the business from original owner William Chase in 2008, for £30m.

The buyers are Austin, Texas based Amplify Snack Brands, whose shares gained 5.4% after news of the deal was announced, according to the Financial Times.

Since Investcorp acquired the firm sales and EBITDAS have almost doubled, according to an Investcorp press release – and employee numbers have grown 70% globally, with 30% of that growth occurring in the UK.

Under Investcorp, Tyrell’s “has grown organically and through acquisitions in Australia and Germany”, doubling the percentage of sales it makes overseas from 20% to 40% over the period of ownership.

The company has diversified into healthy snacking, organic and gluten free products, which has created, Tyrells say, “a truly diversified premium snacks player.”

Amplify snack brands is also a snack food company focused on “developing and marketing products that appeal to consumers’ growing preference for Better-For-You (BFY) snacks.”

The company’s signature products, SkinnyPop, Paqui and Oatmega are popular across the United States and Canada thanks to the Amplify’s “wide range of food distribution channels”.

Tyrell’s current CEO, David Milner, is understood to be moving to Amplify in order to take control of the company’s non-US operations; he has commented “we had a very attractive offer we feel was hard to ignore, and secondly, the people who made the offer – we admired SkinnyPop from afar – they are very similar to us, being a relatively small food business that is really fast-growing, and not bureaucratic. We fit together very well.”

Investcorp and Tyrells’ management team will share about £278 in cash as a result of the deal, some of which will go towards paying down company debt, as well as 2.11m shares of Amplify stock. The management team are reported to have held about 10% of the company before the sale and will take an undisclosed position in Amplify after the sale.

carsten hagenbucher

Carsten Hagenbucher Managing Director of Investcorp’s European Corporate Investment Team

Said Carsten Hagenbucher, Managing Director in Investcorp’s European Corporate Investment team, “Tyrrells is a great British success story which we’ve been delighted to play a part in. Three years ago we saw the opportunity to export a fantastic domestic brand and that has been our focus, through two transformative acquisitions – both of which were proprietary deals – and by driving growth in the UK and many international markets.  We wish David and his team the best of luck in this new chapter.”

David Milner said of the sale and Investcorp: “From the outset when Tyrrells was acquired by Investcorp we projected ambitious growth strategies and that’s exactly what we have delivered.  It has been a hugely successful partnership resulting in a business which is in great shape for further international expansion.”

Investcorp, who have offices in London, Bahrain, New York, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Doha, focus on corporate investment, real estate investment and alternative investment solutions. At the end of 2015 the company says it held £10.7 billion in total assets under management. The company has made more than 150 current and previous investments, including Fleetmatics, Welcome Break in the UK and Saks Fifth Avenue. 

Meanwhile, Tyrells founder William Chase has launched Chase Distilleries, at and old government research facility he purchased for £4m, and is now selling his own brand of Vodka, Chase Vodka, which reportedly won the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, beating off 115 rivals to win the “best vodka” gong.

So much for the “humble” potato.


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