Mars Food has announced it will acquire the majority stake in a Stamford, Conn.-based food product manufacturer. The company — which, along with the Fort Smith-connected Mars Petcare, is a segment of Mars Inc. — signed a definitive agreement on Monday (Aug. 14) to acquire Preferred Brands International (PBI), a fully integrated manufacturer and marketer of all-natural, ready-to-heat Indian and Asian food products that are sold primarily under the Tasty Bite brand.
The company did not divulge purchase price in a press release.
Tasty Bite’s portfolio includes a wide range of vegetarian offerings, including Indian/Asian entrees, spice and simmer meal kits, and organic rice and lentils. While the majority of sales are generated in North America, PBI also manufactures products that are sold through retailers in the UK and Australia and through foodservice in India.
“Tasty Bite’s broad range of dinner time products, focused on Indian and Asian cuisines, makes it a natural complement to our existing portfolio,” said Mars Food Global President Fiona Dawson. “Tasty Bite is a fast growing Indian/Asian dinner time brand. Upon closing of the acquisition of Tasty Bite, Mars Food will expand our all-natural vegetarian offerings in the US, and leverage Tasty Bite’s strong product development pipeline, flavor expertise, and strategic sourcing of quality ingredients throughout our portfolio.”
“We’re thrilled to be joining the Mars Food family,” said Tasty Bite CEO Ashok Vasudevan. “The nearly quarter century of uninterrupted growth of Tasty Bite since its inception was powered by our deep commitment to sustainable practices and to the pursuit of consumer delight. Mars is one of the largest food companies in the world and a recognized leader and role model for corporate sustainability. Mars Foods’ strong brand portfolio, global infrastructure, and shared values makes it well-positioned to take Tasty Bite to the next level.”
The acquisition of Preferred Brands International is subject to applicable regulatory approvals and is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2017. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as financial advisor to Mars Food. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as legal advisor to Mars Food, and AZB & Partners served as India legal advisor. Tasty Bite was represented by Goldman Sachs, The Giannuzzi Group, and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas.
Mars Food has approximately 2,000 employees and 11 manufacturing sites. It currently has 12 brands available in 28 countries, including Uncle Ben’s, Dolmio, Seeds of Change, Masterfoods, Suzi Wan, Ebly, Royco, Kan Tong, and Raris. Global headquarters are located in Brussels, Belgium, and North America headquarters are in Chicago.
PBI has more than 100 SKUs. Their products are available in most major grocery stores and supermarkets across North America, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. All products contain no artificial ingredients (i.e. preservatives, colors, flavors, or GMOs). Manufacturing is done in PBI’s subsidiary in India – Tasty Bite Eatables Ltd (TBEL).
TBEL is a public company listed (TSTY:IN) on the Bombay Stock Exchange.