Houlihan Lokey Advises Meadow Foods

Houlihan Lokey is pleased to announce the acquisition of Paine Schwartz Partners’ shares in Meadow Foods by Exponent Private Equity. The transaction was completed on 01 August 2018.

Meadow Foods is the UK’s largest independently owned dairy group and leading supplier of milk-based dairy ingredients to the food industry. Meadow Foods currently handles more than 650 million litres of milk each year direct from over 650 farmer suppliers from across the North of England, the Midlands, and North and West Wales. The company, founded in 1992, operates from factories in Chester, Peterborough, and Holme-on-Spalding-Moor and now employs more than 300 people.

A global leader in sustainable food chain investing, Paine Schwartz Partners is a private equity firm that focuses on investment opportunities in the fast-growing, dynamic global food and agribusiness sectors. The firm’s investment, operations, and finance professionals invest throughout cycles across the food and agribusiness value chain and bring a collaborative and active management approach to portfolio companies. The firm currently invests through its $893 million Paine Schwartz Food Chain Fund IV, which is solely dedicated to food and agribusiness investing.

Established in London in 2004, Exponent is one of the UK’s leading private equity firms, investing in companies headquartered in the UK and Ireland. Exponent are situational specialists, applying a unique approach to investments across industries to achieve transformational results for investors and management teams. The firm is investing from its £1 billion third fund.

Mark Chantler, Chief Executive of Meadow Foods, commented, “This investment marks another step in the growth trajectory of Meadow Foods. Exponent and the management team have a clear vision for what we want to achieve with the company, and we’re excited to get on and deliver that for the benefit of all the company’s stakeholders, suppliers, and business partners.”    

Oliver Bower, Partner at Exponent, added, “Meadow Foods has matured as a business significantly in recent years, and we believe the business is extremely well placed for continued growth. The core fundamentals of a strong management team, good customer relationships, and a strong producer base make the business the success it is. We are very excited by this opportunity and look forward to executing the strategy for continued growth.”

Dexter Paine, Chairman and a Founding Partner of Paine Schwartz Partners, concluded, “The team at Meadow Foods has delivered the key strategic objectives we set out to achieve when we invested in 2016, and the company is now stronger than ever. We would like to thank the Chantler family and the Meadow Foods management team for being tremendous partners and are very proud of what the company has been able to accomplish during our investment period. We wish the team at Meadow Foods ongoing success and continued growth.”

Houlihan Lokey acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Meadow Foods and Paine Schwartz and assisted negotiating the transaction on their behalf. This transaction reinforces Houlihan Lokey's strong global franchise in the dairy and ingredients industries.

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