Pork and seafood supplier served up for major cross-border acquisition

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Yorkshire food producer Eight Fifty Food Group has been sold to Canadian multi-protein producer, Sofina Foods Inc for an undisclosed sum.

The sale brings an end to over three year of involvement by international private equity firm CapVest Partners LLP in the business, who acquired Karro Food Group, a UK pork processor, in 2017 following an Endless backed transformation.

CapVest and the Karro management subsequently acquired seafood business Young’s Seafood in 2019 to create Eight Fifty Food Group.

Eight Fifty later consolidated five other protein businesses from across Europe to create what is today a leading European multi-protein specialist, growing the business over £2bn in sales and employing around 8,300 people, across 23 manufacturing sites.

Following the acquisition, the business will remain under the leadership of Di Walker and will complement Sofina Food’s existing leading North American platform. The resulting Group will employ 13,000 employees globally across 44 sites and near $6b/£4.4bn in annual revenue.

Michael Latifi, founder and executive chairman of Sofina Foods, said: “As a leading Canadian multi-protein specialist, this acquisition allows Sofina Foods to continue on our path of ambitious expansion.

“Sofina Foods is one of Canada’s largest food producers and we have created a solid global foundation for continued growth.

“With a history of excellence in food production and processing spanning over 25 years, the strong brands of Eight Fifty Food Group align perfectly with our prominent brands and our shared future vision.”

Jason Rodrigues, partner at CapVest, said: “We’ve created a leading European multi-protein business through a combination of strategic investment in our core asset base and complementary acquisitions of fantastic national champions.

“Eight Fifty delivers best-in-class products to our customers and consumers and we are all very proud of what Di Walker and her team have achieved over the last four years.

“We’re confident that Eight Fifty will continue to flourish under Sofina Food’s ownership.”

Di Walker, CEO, Eight Fifty

Walker, CEO of Eight Fifty, said: “We began this journey as a UK-only pork supplier doing less than £500m in sales and after several years of transformational organic and acquisitive progress are now the European multi-protein specialist with over £2bn in sales.

“This transaction and the interest in Eight Fifty is a great reflection on the quality of the business and testament to the work that CapVest and our entire management team have completed.

“We’re very excited to join Sofina Foods to deliver on their ambitious future growth plans.”

Bob Wilt, president and CEO of Sofina Foods, said: “Our team in Canada and our new partners at Eight Fifty Food Group have set the stage for considerable growth.

“I look forward to working with Di and to welcoming Eight Fifty to the Sofina family, and to drawing upon the significant expertise that exists across both businesses.”

CapVest and management received financial advice from Jefferies, JP Morgan and Rothschild & Co, legal advice from Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Walker Morris, and financial and tax due diligence services from KPMG.

Sofina Foods received financial advice from Rabobank as the lead financial advisor and Scotiabank as the co-financial advisor. Additional advice was provided by PWC, Stikeman Elliott and Taylor Wessing.

The transaction is subject to approval from regulatory authorities.

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