UPDATED: Earthbound Farm adds equity firm as partner

07/24/2009 03:12:00 PM
Dawn Withers

(UPDATED COVERAGE, July 24) Organic shipper Earthbound Farm is adding a fourth partner to its ownership group, HM Capital Partners LLC.

HM Capital Partners is a private equity firm based in Dallas, according to a news release. Other partners are Mission Ranches, King City, Calif., and Tanimura & Antle, Salinas, Calif., in holding an ownership stake in Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, Calif. Terms of the transaction are not being made public.

All current partners continue to be significant shareholders in the company and remain active in the business, according to the release.

Charles Sweat, president of Earthbound Farm, takes on the additional role of chief executive officer, according to the release.

"HM Capital has extensive experience in the food sector and is supportive of Earthbound Farm's mission and values," Sweat said in the release.

Earthbound Farm spokeswoman Samantha Cabaluna said in an e-mail that Natural Selection Foods LLC, founded in 1995 to handle sales after Earthbound Farm partnered with Mission Ranches, has been eliminated as a legal entity and trade name.

Earthbound Farm is the company representing the new partnership.

Myra Goodman, co-founder and executive vice president of Earthbound Farm, said the company spent the past two years working over the details of a new partnership, which became official July 20.

"Our motivation is to increase the profitability on the farm," Goodman said.

The new partnership is an opportunity for Earthbound Farm to expand is product offerings possibly into canned and frozen foods, Goodman said, but will continue to keep organic fresh produce as its core business.

A strategy session is planned for September, Goodman said, when the partners will look at opportunities for growth, including possible acquisition of other companies and expanding organic acreage and produce offerings.



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