CTI Foods, a leading provider of custom food solutions to America’s top restaurant chains, has acquired Liguria Foods, a producer of high-quality pepperoni, salami, and other premium protein pizza toppings for both pizzerias and sandwich shops. The deal closed on February 12, 2016. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Liguria Foods was majority owned by BBH Capital Partners, a private equity investment unit of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., the oldest and largest private bank in the United States, which became an investor in the company in 2008. Other previous investors and owners of Liguria Foods during the past decade included Ancor Capital Partners, Hillstar Capital, and Specialty Food Group. Liguria Foods (formerly Humboldt Sausage Company) was founded in 1974, and is headquartered in Humboldt, Iowa.

CTI Foods is majority owned by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners and leading global investment bank Goldman Sachs & Co., who acquired the company from Littlejohn & Co. in 2013. Littlejohn & Co. acquired CTI from CIC Partners in 2010. CIC Partners formed CTI Foods in 2003, via the acquisition and merger of SSI Food Services and S&S Foods LLC from J.R. Simplot Company.

“We are excited to welcome Liguria to the CTI family, and we especially like that Liguria is the pepperoni of choice for many of the most discriminating, independent and multi-unit pizzerias in the U.S.,” said Sam Rovit, president and CEO of CTI Foods. “It’s a good market to compete in, as pizza sales are growing at three percent annually and roughly half of all pizzas in the U.S. are ordered with pepperoni. The addition of Liguria’s high quality products is consistent with our commitment to growth by diversifying CTI’s differentiated protein offerings and broadening CTI’s distribution channels.”

“We have aggressively built market share by being highly responsive to customer needs and by focusing on independent and multi-unit operators who want authentic, high quality, and flavorful pepperoni,” said Liguria CEO Lance Chambers. “We’re very pleased to align with CTI. We believe our teams are a great fit and look forward to leveraging our array of complementary capabilities as we continue to earn our customers’ business each and every day.”

“Our strategy is to be on the lookout for excellent businesses like Liguria that can benefit their customers by accessing the resources of a larger company and that bring new products to our customers,” Rovit said. “In addition, we have developed a high regard for Liguria’s management and are delighted that the entire team will be joining CTI under the continued leadership of Lance Chambers.”

CTI Foods is a culinary-driven company that offers a diverse range of custom food solutions to the foodservice and restaurant industries, including raw and pre-cooked protein, soups and sauces and dehydrated beans. CTI Foods has six state-of-the-art food processing facilities and has over 1,500 employees at its California, Idaho, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Texas locations. The company’s value-added products include cooked proteins such as fajita and taco meat, beans, soups and sauces produced at six plants across the United States. CTI Foods was founded in 1985, and is headquartered in Wilder, Idaho.

Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. is one of the world’s oldest and most experienced private equity firms. The firm invests in growth-oriented businesses, headquartered principally in North America, across three broad sectors: Consumer & Healthcare, Media & Information Services, and Business & Financial Services. Since its founding in 1974, THL has raised over $20 billion of equity capital and invested in more than 130 businesses with an aggregate purchase price of more than $150 billion.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.

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