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A Sweet Finish: 9 of the Most Successful Food Startup Exits

Delivery Hero IPOs
In addition to fueling our bodies, food startups, brands, technology, producers, restaurants, and retailers power a multi-trillion dollar industry. The highly active food merger and acquisition (M&A) market may make it appear as if there are fewer companies involved in the space than before. However, the abundance of M&A transactions does not necessarily indicate industry consolidation according to Brian Todd, president of the Food Institute. “I think [the number of companies] has still gone up slightly, mainly with all of the new entities and entrepreneurs that are out there,” Todd shares. A plethora of food startups looking to disrupt the industry are popping up and large food corporations are eagerly searching for innovative businesses to add to their portfolios.

Food technology and innovation are currently top of mind here at SeedInvest because we have a number of food and beverage startups currently fundraising on our site. Here are some of the most exciting recent food startup exits: acquisitions, mergers, public offerings, and deal announcements.


1. Campbell’s buys Snyder’s in its largest acquisition to date:

Campbell's acquires Snyders

In December, Campbell Soup announced plans to purchase Snyder’s-Lance, which makes Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels, Cape Cod and Kettle potato chips, and Pop Secret popcorn. This deal is worth almost $5 billion, marking Campbell’s largest purchase ever.

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2. Conagra Brands closes deal to buy Pinnacle Foods:

Conagra Brands buys Pinnacle Foods

Last month, Conagra Brands announced a deal to buy Pinnacle Foods in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at around $8.1 billion, $10.9 billion with debt. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets suggest that the joining of Conagra and Pinnacle would build the second-largest American frozen food company behind Nestle.
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3. Following its 2017 acquisition of Plated, Albertsons plans to sell the startup’s meal kits in hundreds of stores:

After its food startup exit Plated meal kit service set to be sold in hundreds of Albertson's stores

Albertsons, which bought the 2012-founded Plated last summer, shared plans in April to add Plated products to hundreds of stores by the end of 2018. The grocer also intends to make Plated meal kits available for same-day Instacart delivery.

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4. Kellogg acquires Rxbar for $600 million:

Food startup exit | Kellogg acquires Rxbar

Kellogg made a move to broaden its snack reach with its 2017 purchase of Rxbar, a Chicago-based protein bar company. Since its acquisition, Rxbar has started to expand its products beyond protein bars by launching a nut butter spread. The startup, which was established in 2012, also has plans to sell its products internationally for the first time.

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5. Delivery Hero has a successful public debut:

Delivery Hero IPOs in largest European food startup exit

When the online food delivery service Delivery Hero went public in June 2017, its shares jumped as much as 8% on the first day. The Berlin-based firm, founded in 2011, possesses a market capitalization of 4.7 billion euros ($5.3 billion) following its successful debut on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

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6. Hershey purchases Amplify Snack Brands, the maker of SkinnyPop popcorn:

Hershey's buys Skinny Pop parent brand Amplify Snack Brands

Candy giant Hershey picked up Amplify Snack Brands, which makes SkinnyPop (launched in 2010), for $1.6 billion. This deal is the latest move within Hershey’s strategy to expand beyond the confectionery business; the company purchased Krave, a 2009-founded jerky company, in 2015.

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7. HelloFresh IPO helps the company soar above its chief competitor, Blue Apron:

HelloFresh's IPO in food startup exit, which provides competitive advantage over Blue Apron

Shares in HelloFresh, founded in 2011, rose as much as 4% on their first day on the stock market last November. The valuation of the German meal-kit delivery company jumped to more than double that of Blue Apron, an American competitor.

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8. Unilever goes on a food startup acquisition spree:

Unilever acquires food startups

The M&A department of the British-Dutch consumer goods company has been busy lately. In the past year and a half alone, Unilever has acquired specialty condiments producer Sir Kensington’s, herbal tea and supplement business Pukka Herbs, natural and organic food company Mae Terra, Starbucks’ Tazo tea brand, and the Romanian ice cream maker Betty Ice.

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9. Amazon acquires Whole Foods:

Amazon buys Whole Foods Market

No discussion of food deals would be complete without mention of Amazon’s 2017 decision to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, more than it has spent on all other previous purchases combined. Amazon is betting on physical stores and the food sector by picking up the grocery chain, which kept its name, CEO, and headquarters.

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This post was written by SeedInvest on September 8, 2018

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