Logo for Hearthside food solutions.

Hearthside Acquires VSI, Europe's Largest Sports/Energy Bar Manufacturer

DOWNERS GROVE, IL -- August 24, 2015 -- Hearthside Food Solutions (“Hearthside”) today announced two separate, definitive agreements enabling the company to expand rapidly in the fastest-growing bar categories in the Americas and Europe. Under one agreement, Hearthside is acquiring VSI, the largest European producer of nutrition, diet, and functional bars. In a separate agreement, Hearthside is acquiring a nutritional supplement bar production facility in Boise, Idaho from a subsidiary of Post Holdings, Inc. (“Post”). These two transactions will enable the rapid scaling of VSI’s formulations, R&D, product development, and full-scale production in the Americas. Terms were not disclosed. Both transactions are expected to close in September of 2015.

Hearthside, with 19 U.S.-based facilities, is currently North America’s largest contract manufacturer of bars and baked goods. The VSI acquisition adds three European manufacturing facilities for nutrition, diet, and functional bars as well as best-in-class R&D, formulation, and innovation capabilities.

U.S. bar growth predictions from market research firm Mintel show continued category strength driven by convenience, snacking occasions, and meal replacement trends. The strongest growth is in health-related bar categories, including sports, functional, diet, and nutrition.

“This is both a category and geographic expansion, putting Hearthside into the three fastest-growing bar categories as well as in the European market, where VSI is a leader,” said Rich Scalise, Hearthside Founder and Chairman. “The R&D and production expertise of VSI in the fast-growth categories of nutrition, diet, and functional bars enables Hearthside to take a quantum leap forward, providing our customers with the most complete offerings in the industry.”

The acquisition of a recently idled nutritional supplement bar production facility in Boise, Idaho, enables Hearthside to begin production of these new categories in the Americas quickly. This facility, plus the three VSI operations, expands Hearthside’s network to 23 facilities.

“It takes two years from greenfield to operational bar plant,” said Dwayne Hughes, Hearthside SVP of Supply Chain. “We wanted VSI capacity in the North American mix more quickly. This facility is ready to go today. The timing, the location, and the state-of-the-art equipment provides a perfect solution that makes us competitive in more bar categories immediately.”

Both Hearthside and VSI are contact manufacturers for premier food companies and global brands. The companies see no redundancies or conflicts in complementary customers and product offerings.

“This is the right move for VSI at the right time,” said Gerard Janssens, CEO of VSI. “Our people, our leadership team and our customers all benefit from this acquisition. We will be able to do more things for more customers in more places. For example, we can design, formulate, and commercialize a new bar, then produce it for customers in Europe and the Americas. This combined bar development and delivery platform sets new standards in the contract manufacturing industry.”

In 2014, Hearthside was acquired by the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs and Vestar Capital Partners.

About Hearthside Food Solutions

Hearthside Food Solutions, headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois, is the largest independent baker in the U.S. and a full-service contract manufacturer of high quality, grain-based food and snack products for some of the world’s leading premier brands. Prior to these acquisitions, Hearthside operated 19 food-manufacturing facilities in eight states. For more information on Hearthside Food Solutions, visit www.hearthsidefoods.com.



For Hearthside Food Solutions

Carl Melville, 760-671-1110

[email protected]


Logo for Veritas collabrative.

Vestar Capital Partners Invests in Veritas Collaborative, LLC

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – August 3, 2015 – Vestar Capital Partners (“Vestar”), a leading private equity firm, today announced a majority equity investment in Veritas Collaborative, LLC (“Veritas”), a premiere specialty hospital system for the treatment of eating disorders, headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. Terms of the transaction – which closed today – were not disclosed.

“There is a large, unmet demand for the services and treatments offered by Veritas,” said Andrew J. Cavanna, Managing Director and Co-Head of Vestar’s Healthcare Group. “We are looking forward to working with Veritas to expand its operations and bring its highly successful approach to more patients and more geographies. We are excited to be backing the seasoned and knowledgeable management team at Veritas, which is led by Founders Stacie McEntyre, Chase Bannister, and Jeff Clark.” Mr. Cavanna said that the majority of Vestar’s initial investment in Veritas will be directed toward growth opportunities.

“With Vestar as our partner, we have the opportunity to drive a new standard of care in the eating disorders field, and become one of the leading eating disorders hospital systems in the world,” said Founder and Executive Board Chairman Jeff Clark.

"The Vestar team understands that our culture of excellence is driven by a culture of collaboration,” said Stacie McEntyre, Veritas Collaborative’s Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer. “They support our vision of a world in which all persons with eating disorders have access to best practice care and hold hope for a cure."

Chase Bannister, Veritas Collaborative’s Founder, Senior Vice President, and Chief Strategy and Clinical Integrity Officer, confirmed that the new partnership is targeted at addressing the significant gaps in specialty eating disorder treatment options in the southeastern U.S., particularly at inpatient, residential, and partial hospitalization levels of care. "Vestar will provide additional expertise and resources to help us do what we do best: re-nourish the bodies and minds of those suffering with eating disorder illnesses and re-empower families to take on roles as primary mediators of recovery."

“The Veritas team has a unique, powerful combination of clinical expertise and business acumen," said James L. Elrod, Jr., Managing Director of Vestar Capital Partners. “We have been impressed with the commitment of its team to delivering innovative, world-class care and the outstanding results they have produced to date. We believe in the Veritas mission and we are fully committed to support the growth of this enterprise for years to come.”

Latham & Watkins, LLP and Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis LLP served as legal advisors to Vestar Capital Partners. James M. O’Connell, PLLC, served as legal advisor to Veritas Collaborative. Avondale Partners, LLC, served as financial advisors to Veritas Collaborative.

About Veritas Collaborative

Founded in 2010, Veritas Collaborative, LLC, is a specialty hospital system for the treatment of eating disorders headquartered in Durham, North Carolina.  Veritas Collaborative’s first flagship hospital centers on the care of children and adolescents with severe eating disorders.  Veritas delivers best-practice, comprehensive care for persons with eating disorders at inpatient, sub-acute inpatient/acute residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient levels of care. For more information, please visit www.veritascollaborative.com.


Owen Blicksilver Public Relations

Carol Makovich

(203) 622-4781

[email protected]

Jennifer Hurson

(845) 507-0571

[email protected]