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Goldman Sachs and Vestar Capital Partners in Partnership to Acquire Hearthside Food Solutions

NEW YORK, March 19, 2014-- Goldman Sachs and Vestar Capital Partners announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Hearthside Food Solutions, the largest independent bakery and contract food manufacturer in North America, from Wind Point Partners. Terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014. Goldman Sachs and Vestar will own equal stakes in the company going forward.

Hearthside Food Solutions is the nation’s largest and fastest-growing independent bakery and a full-service contract manufacturer of high quality, grain-based food and snack products for many of the world’s leading premier brands. Hearthside offers a diverse product portfolio focused on four main platform categories – bars, cookies/crackers, granola/cereals, and snacks. The company manufactures more than 150 brands and 1,400 SKUs for its top customers.

“When we launched Hearthside in 2009, we envisioned a company that could transform the contract manufacturing industry,” said Rich Scalise, chairman and chief executive officer of Hearthside. “We have achieved that goal, building an industry leader and a highly successful business in the last five years based on the principles of being fast, flexible and adding more value. Going forward, by leveraging the experience and relationships of both Goldman and Vestar, we are confident we can take the company to the next level of growth in the contract manufacturing industry. We look forward to working with our new partners.”

"Hearthside is a leader in the co-manufacturing industry and management has done an excellent job accelerating its growth trajectory,” said Nicole Agnew, a managing director in the Merchant Banking Division at Goldman Sachs. “We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to invest in Hearthside and partner with its first class management team and employees.”

“Hearthside is not only one of the largest co-manufacturers in the food industry, but also the leader in quality, safety, and innovation. They respond rapidly to industry trends and shifting consumer preferences,” said Dan O’Connell, CEO of Vestar. “Now more than ever, food companies turn to co-manufacturers like Hearthside to help them initiate and accelerate the commercialization process and for timely response to changing consumer preferences. We are excited to work with Rich and his talented team to take advantage of these positive long-term trends and grow the business.”

Affiliates of Barclays Capital and Goldman Sachs provided commitments for the debt financing for the transaction. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as the legal advisor to Goldman Sachs and Vestar in this transaction.

About Hearthside Food Solutions

Hearthside Food Solutions, headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois, is the nation’s largest independent bakery and a full-service contract manufacturer of high quality, grain-based food and snack products for some of the world’s leading premier brands. Hearthside operates 20 food-manufacturing facilities in eight states. For more information on Hearthside Food Solutions, visit www.hearthsidefoods.com.

About Goldman Sachs

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.

About Vestar Capital Partners

Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners in a creative, flexible and entrepreneurial way to build long-term enterprise value.

Vestar has a successful track record in the food industry, with past investments in companies including Celestial Seasonings, Michael Foods and Birds Eye. Currently, Vestar’s portfolio includes Del Monte – now Big Heart Pet Brands, the largest pet snack company in U.S. – and specialty foods leader Roland Foods.

Vestar is targeting equity investments in the range of $50 million to $150 million in U.S.-based middle-market companies with enterprise values ranging from $250 million to $1 billion. Vestar has extensive experience investing across a wide variety of industries including Consumer, Healthcare, Digital Media, Information Services, Diversified Industries, and Financial Services. Since Vestar’s founding in 1988, Vestar funds have completed more than 70 investments in companies with a total value of more than $40 billion. For more information, please visit http://www.vestarcapital.com.

Contact:
FOR GOLDMAN SACHS:
Andrea Raphael, 212-357-0025
or
FOR VESTAR:
Owen Blicksilver Public Relations
Carol Makovich, 203-622-4781
carol@blicksilverpr.com
or
Jennifer Hurson, 845-507-0571
jennifer@blicksilverpr.com


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