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Dr. Praeger's Sensible Foods Appoints Andy Reichgut as Chief Executive Officer

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J.July 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Praeger's Sensible Foods, a fast-growing brand specializing in delicious, nutritious plant-based frozen foods made from simple ingredients, announced today that seasoned CPG executive Andy Reichgut has been appointed Chief Executive Officer effective immediately. Founder Larry Praeger has moved into a Special Advisor role and will remain an active Board member of the Company. The Praeger and Somberg families will retain their ownership stake in the Company, which is a portfolio company of Vestar Capital Partners.

"Andy is a smart, thoughtful, innovative and resourceful business leader with a deep appreciation for strengthening organizational capability, and a strong track record of building brands and businesses," said Jeffrey Ansell, Dr. Praeger's Chairman and Vestar Strategic Executive Advisor. "I'm excited to work with Andy again, and I'm confident his vast packaged foods experience, including plant-based and better-for-you brands, will set him up for success at Dr. Praeger's. I'd also like to sincerely thank Larry for his incredible vision and passion for the brand, which experienced transformative growth under his leadership. We look forward to his continued contributions as a Special Advisor and active Board member."

Mr. Reichgut is a long-time CPG executive who brings more than 25 years of experience from the packaged food industry. He was most recently General Manager for Violife®, a vegan cheese company owned by Upfield. Prior to Violife®, Mr. Reichgut was Executive Vice President at New Classic Cooking, where he led the Veggies Made Great® business. Under his leadership, the business experienced significant growth fueled by the repositioning of the brand and strong innovation. Mr. Reichgut also has decades of brand management and innovation experience working with leading CPG brands at Pinnacle Foods, Mars and Reckitt Benckiser. He holds a Master's of Business Administration degree from University of Chicago and a Bachelor's of Science degree from Syracuse University.

"Dr. Praeger's is a brand I have admired for many years and am excited and honored to join the organization as its CEO," said Mr. Reichgut. "At a time when consumers are searching for healthier and more environmentally friendly foods, Dr. Praeger's is positioned extraordinarily well to leverage these tailwinds. I look forward to working with the Company's strong leadership team along with our partners at Vestar to fulfill the promise of this business."

"I'm excited to welcome Andy to Dr. Praeger's. His vision, coupled with a phenomenal team who care so deeply for our brand, will continue to bring delicious and healthy plant-based food for generations to come," said Mr. Praeger. "When my father put his name on a veggie burger 26 years ago, he could not have predicted the plant-based revolution that was to come. I am so proud, as I know he would be, of the part Dr. Praeger's has played in bringing delicious, nutrient-dense food to homes all over the country. Dr. Praeger's has truly been able to meet the moment, and I'm confident it will continue to do so in this exciting next chapter."

About Dr. Praeger's

For over 25 years, Dr. Praeger's Sensible Foods has offered delicious and convenient frozen food options for the whole family. Founded by two heart surgeons determined to make healthy food easily accessible. Dr. Praeger's is a leader in the all-natural, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and kosher frozen food categories and has a wide range of products including Veggie Burgers, Bowls, Cakes, Puffs and Hash Browns, sustainable Seafood items, kids Littles and more. For more information visit www.drpraegers.com.

About Vestar Capital Partners

Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners to build long-term enterprise value, with a focus on Consumer, Business & Technology Services and Healthcare. Since inception in 1988, Vestar funds have invested $11 billion in 89 companies – as well as more than 200 add-on acquisitions – with a total value of approximately $52 billion. For more information on Vestar, please visit www.vestarcapital.com.

360training Announces Equity Recapitalization from GreyLion and Vestar Capital Partners

AUSTIN, TexasJuly 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — 360training (or "the Company"), a leading provider of online training and continuing education to regulated industries, today announced an equity recapitalization from GreyLion Partners LP ("GreyLion") and Vestar Capital Partners ("Vestar") to support the Company's rapid growth and accelerate acquisition activity. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

The new investment will help 360training pursue large and small strategic acquisitions within its core markets and in new markets and geographies. 360training helps organizations develop their workforces and remain compliant with labor regulations and industry certification mandates, with a content library offering more than 6,000 courses across five major verticals: Environmental Health & Safety, Food & Beverage, Real Estate, Healthcare and Financial Services.

"We are thrilled to welcome Vestar as a strategic investment partner," said 360training CEO Tom Anderson. "360training now enjoys the substantial backing of two proven investors, both of which pride themselves on partnering with portfolio companies to help accelerate growth. We are looking forward to scaling our platform within existing and new markets through continued investment in strategic acquisitions and product development."

"360training's outstanding management team, differentiated content, and focused go-to-market strategy have allowed the Company to capitalize on attractive, sustainable long-term trends in regulatory-driven online education and training," said Jake Olson and Nikhil Bhat, Managing Directors at Vestar. "We're excited to partner with GreyLion and the 360training team to fuel the Company's continued expansion and product development."

GreyLion first invested in 360training in 2018 and remains a significant owner of the Company. The firm is committed to 360training's long-term growth and success while ensuring that the Company is well positioned to further execute against its strategic business plan.

Henry Heinerscheid, Partner of GreyLion, stated, "Since our investment four years ago, 360training has grown its management team, strengthened its employee base, and invested significant capital in its technology and marketing capabilities. Those investments have enabled growth into new verticals like Healthcare and Financial Services while increasing market share in Environmental Health & Safety, Food & Beverage, and Real Estate. We are proud of the many add-on acquisitions completed to date, and we are thrilled to have Vestar join GreyLion and management to continue driving 360training's industry leadership and support the Company's expansion."

As part of the investment, Mr. Bhat and Mr. Olson of Vestar will join 360training's Board of Directors alongside existing Board members Chip Baird and Mr. Heinerscheid of GreyLion; Mr. Anderson of 360training; and Independent Director Kirk Wortman.

Harris Williams served as the exclusive financial advisor to 360training and Latham & Watkins was its legal advisor. Houlihan Lokey served as exclusive financial advisor, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP provided legal counsel, to Vestar.

About 360training
360training is an integrated digital training and compliance platform for highly regulated industries. Through a unique combination of differentiated technology and deep regulatory expertise, 360training enables professionals to attain jobs and maintain industry-mandated requirements while helping organizations develop their workforces and remain compliant. 360training's robust, proprietary content library offers over 6,000 courses across major business verticals: Environmental Health & Safety, Food & Beverage, Real Estate, Healthcare, Financial Services and more.

Since 1997, 360training.com, Inc. has delivered over 11 million training plans across multiple brands, including HIPAA ExamsMeditecAgentCampusVanEdTIPSOSHAcampusOSHA.com, and Learn2Serve. Please visit www.360training.com or their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to learn more.

About GreyLion Partners LP
GreyLion focuses on investing in high-growth businesses in the lower middle market. We seek to partner with existing owners and management teams across the consumer, industrial, healthcare, software and services sectors to deliver capital in tailored and flexible minority and control structures. GreyLion invests $25-$125 million of capital per investment, primarily within the United States. We currently manage private equity funds with aggregate commitments of approximately $1.7 billion. For more information on GreyLion, please visit http://www.greylion.com.

About Vestar Capital Partners
Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners to build long-term enterprise value, with a focus on Consumer, Business & Technology Services and Healthcare. Since inception in 1988, Vestar funds have invested $11 billion in 89 companies – as well as more than 200 add-on acquisitions – with a total value of approximately $52 billion. For more information on Vestar, please visit http://www.vestarcapital.com.


SOURCE GreyLion Partners LP; Vestar Capital Partners

Headshot of Nikhil Bhat.

Despite Tech Sector Tumble, Big Data Beckons

Despite Tech Sector Tumble, Big Data Beckons
Mergers & Acquisitions Magazine
By Rich Blake
Published July 2022

Following the technology market rout during the spring, the growth-oriented private markets licked their wounds and picked their spots.

One of the leading subsectors deemed poised for expansion, regardless of on economic slowdown? Data analytics.

"Companies across the board are compelled to find a competitive edge to drive growth and profitability, especially in challenging times," says Nikhil Bhat, a managing director at Vester Capital and who helps lead the private equity firm's business and technology services investments.

"Harnessing big data is a source of competitive advantage." he says.

From asset management to supply chain logistics, there is a major push by companies to deploy cutting edge analytics. In little more than the past decade, the data science space has transcended the pages of "Moneyball" and moved into a realm marked by big strategic investments.

Research firm Fortune Business Insights predicts the "big data analytics" market will grow globally by 13 percent per year for the next six years, to become a $500 billion industry by 2028.

One of Vestar's more noteworthy data-driven deals involved carving Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) Inc. out of MSCI Inc. That was back in 2014. Vester at the time backed management to grow ISS further out of its proxy-advisory-focused roots into a comprehensive corporate governance and ESG data analytics provider. Fast-forward to 2017 - ISS underwent a management buyout led by Genstar Capital - and capabilities expended further still. And then, last year, ISS hit a homerun: Deutsche Borse, pivoting from trading-related fees to delivery of real-time investor data, acquired it from Genstar for $2.2 billion. That's nearly seven times the price ISS reportedly fetched eight years prior.

“People like to talk about machine learning and A.I. and these are useful Tools,” Bhat explained. “But what matters most in this space is using a deep understanding of the customer to provide them with the insights they need to make better business decisions.”

Becoming a data-driven company is a heavy lift and natural impediments could thwart best-case scenarios for growth in demand for such services if only due to unpreparedness. Some 80 percent of major corporations surveyed by IBM say having a more robust data-architecture is currently a top priority, and also a challenge.

“Data analytics has invigorated legacy business models and upended traditional corporate cultures,” says Shaun Dookhoo, associate director at Shoreline, a global advisory firm which specializes in helping asset owners use data. Organizations that have harnessed data analytics have benefited immensely at the expense of their competitors, while laggards often struggle to establish the necessary culture required for leveraging data, according to Dookhoo.

A recent deal that underscores the breadth of the scope of the data science opportunity: Omers Growth Equity, a part of Toronto-based Omers pension system, in May of 2022 helped seed Imply Data Inc., valued at $1.1 billion. Imply develops real-time analytics databases. Its founders are the same developers who created Apache Druid, go-to software for open-source projects that transform vast datasets into actionable intelligence.

The deal was led by Thoma Bravo which not surprisingly has its fingerprints all over the big data space. In June 2016, the technology-focused private equity powerhouse firm took Qlik private in a $3 billion deal. Qlik does data visualization, the end result all this software wizardry. It's the output, as opposed to the input, all of it part of a sprawling continuum of data harnessing activities.

Silicon Valley-based Talend is an example of a leading player focused on pulling in and making sense of humongous, disparate flows of data coming like spray from a fire hose connected with myriad sources. Thoma Bravo took Talend private in a deal that closed last September. Final price tag: $2.4 billion.

“We're focused, post tech-crash, on sub-sectors of tech that we deem to be resilient and transformative,” says Chip Virnig, partner at Thomo Bravo. Cybersecurity is arguably one such area, he points out. And data analytics is another.

“Data analytics is a vast space with a lot of niches and complex components to it,” he says.

In addition to the input and output segments along the continuum there is a middle-phase segment. It's led by companies such as publicly traded Snowflake (storage) and Alteryx (blending and integrating data streams).

Companies are viewed by some in the industry as having no alternative but to push further into data science and related tools. The beleaguered, at times broken down, global supply chain is vividly illustrating the importance of having real time Insights. Companies need to know which suppliers are most reliable, which redundancy/contingency options are viable, where delays are happening, how raw materials can be obtained more cost effectively, and so on.

“The exciting thing about this market is with Al and ML (machine learning) we can now take live data feeds and deliver real time actions via automation,” Virnig says. “It adds a whole new element in terms of return on investment.”

One of the more impressive success stories to come out of the big data sector ties to the early months of the pandemic when Vyaire, a maker of ventilators, used Talend's data platform to ramp up production from six machines to 600. Rigorous analysis using every data point on the assembly line was distilled into a re-tool blueprint that identified a series of ultimately fixable chokepoints within the quality control process.

Applying big data strategy to analytics asset management can produce an enormous informational edge to this subsector. It'll continue to grow in line with the baseline amount or assets - tens of trillions of dollars, worldwide - to be managed, said Joe Donohue, vice chairman of DC Advisory, an M&A/private capital advisor serving growth companies in North America.

“Companies like Bloomberg, FactSet Reuters and S&P Global are in a race to capture market share,” Donohue said, pointing to what could be a forthcoming cycle of new strategic bolt-on acquisitions as priorities shift to areas of growth, such as, say, ESG.

In the case of Deutsche Borse, their push into ESG factor data was the driving force behind its purchase of ISS.

Vester has done several deals that illustrate the data analytics groundswell.

Back in 2018, Vestar led an investment in Information Resources Inc. (IRI), which at the time, was owned by New Mountain Capital who retained a significant stake in the company. Not to be confused with ISS, IRI is a leading global provider of big data and predictive analytics to the consumer packaged goods sector, integrating otherwise disconnected consumer data streams (purchase habits, media consumption, as well as social, causal and customer loyalty data) to help corporate customers grow their businesses. This past April, IRI announced plans to merge with NPD Group, a global consumer data provider to the general merchandise and food service sectors, bringing together complementary, leading data assets on an advanced technology platform. Hellman & Friedman, which owns NPD. will acquire a majority stake, while Vester and New Mountain will retain significant minority stakes in the combined company.

Previously, Vestar’s Healthcare team, in 2017, led an investment into a founder-owned company called Quest Analytics, a leader in health plan provider network management analytics software. This deal exemplified the trend towards investing in vertically focused software and data analytics companies. Quest has since made, with Vestar's backing, two strategic acquisitions to expand its data sources and analytics capabilities.

“Health plan networks are characterized by massive amounts of complex, dynamic data on healthcare providers” Bhat said.

By investing heavily behind its technology and analytics capabilities, Quest created a platform that enables health plans to build high-quality networks.

“That drives positive health outcomes for members,” he said. “Something everyone in the industry wants to achieve.”