French vegetable company Bonduelle has entered into an agreement to acquire Ready Pac Foods, the Irwindale, CA-based producer of salads and fresh-cut produce. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of March, subject to regulatory reviews and approvals, upon which Ready Pac Foods will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bonduelle, a family-owned business with more than $2 billion in revenue.
Founded in 1853, Bonduelle owns four brands of canned, frozen and fresh vegetables with a presence in 100 countries around the world. The transaction will expand Bonduelle’s presence in the fast-growing fresh business and will make the United States its largest country of operation. Ready Pac Foods expects to benefit from Bonduelle’s investment in its growth, innovation and global reach, as well as its leadership and expertise in agro-industry.
“We were impressed with the strength of Ready Pac Foods operational excellence, commitment to innovation and talented management team,” said Christophe Bonduelle, chairman and CEO of Bonduelle. “Our interest in Ready Pac Foods was not only because of its attractive product segment and rapid growth, but the value the company delivers to their customers and their committed workforce.”
Ready Pac Foods has achieved significant growth and profitability in recent years under the leadership of Tony Sarsam, who joined the company as CEO in 2013. The company is on track to generate $800 million in revenues this year, up from $700 million last year and $670 million in 2015, said Alan Hilowitz, director of corporate communications for Ready Pac Foods.
Sarsam will continue to lead Ready Pac Foods, reporting directly to Bonduelle. No changes will be made to the Ready Pac Foods leadership team.
“Ready Pac Foods has seen significant growth over the last several years, and joining forces with Bonduelle validates our current business approach,” Sarsam said. “This is a fantastic new chapter for our 3,500 associates and a great step forward. We are thrilled with this investment in our company strategy, and know Ready Pac Foods is going to be right at home with the Bonduelle family of companies.”
In its nearly 50-year history, Ready Pac Foods has been credited with a number of firsts in fresh food innovation, including the invention of the triple wash system, which is the industry standard today, and the development of the pillow pack to maintain peak freshness. The company introduced the original Bistro Bowl, the market’s first single-serve, complete meal salad. Other brands in Ready Pac Foods’ portfolio include Ready Snax, Cool Cuts and Elevate.