News release from Gryphon Investors: October 27, 2014 (Lynchburg, VA) – Gryphon Investors (“Gryphon”), a San Francisco-based middle market private equity firm, announced today that it has acquired a majority stake in C. B. Fleet Company (“Fleet Laboratories” or “the Company”). Fleet’s management team, along with several additional investors, will hold minority stakes alongside Gryphon. Fleet Laboratories, headquartered in Lynchburg, VA and family-owned since its founding in 1869, is a market leader in the personal healthcare and over-the-counter (“OTC”) industry with such well-known product lines as Summer’s Eve®, FLEET®, Norforms®, Pedia-Lax®, Phazyme®, and Boudreaux’s®. The Company has a presence in North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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Dennis O’Brien, a partner at Gryphon, said, “Fleet Laboratories has a commanding position in the OTC and personal healthcare product areas, which we have closely followed for several years. We believe the OTC sector is poised for continued expansion as consumers migrate toward more economical non-prescription products and that Fleet has unique and differentiated capabilities to serve these markets. Additionally, the Company’s strong brand advantage in the personal healthcare segment under the leading feminine hygiene brand, Summer’s Eve, is a springboard for strong future growth.”
As part of the transaction, Steve LaMonte, a Gryphon advisor and an accomplished senior executive in both OTC and personal healthcare businesses who has held leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Schering-Plough, will become Chairman of the Board. CEO Jeff Rowan and the existing management team will remain with the Company.
Keith Stimson, also a Gryphon partner, added, “Fleet Laboratories has a long history of innovation and responsiveness to customer needs, which is coupled with a growing acceptance and awareness of OTC and personal healthcare products among consumers, resulting in a well-run company with a bright future. We welcome Jeff and his team and look forward to working with them on the growth initiatives that will allow Fleet to continue to deliver exceptional results and reach its full potential as a leading player in its industries. Fleet Laboratories is a true platform that provides an excellent opportunity from which to make numerous add-on acquisitions in desirable categories.”
Mr. Rowan noted, “We are pleased to be able to leverage Gryphon’s expertise and financial resources as Fleet Laboratories transitions from a family-owned company and continues its long history as a strong competitor in the large and competitive global personal healthcare and OTC markets.”
Houlihan Lokey acted as exclusive financial advisor to Gryphon and TM Capital Corp. acted as exclusive financial advisor to Fleet on the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal advisor to Gryphon and Hunton & Williams LLP and Edmunds & Williams, P.C. were the legal advisors to Fleet Laboratories.
About Fleet Laboratories
Fleet Laboratories (www.cbfleet.com) is a consumer healthcare manufacturer and marketer of personal care and over-the-counter products in the feminine hygiene, gastrointestinal, and infant care categories. Founded in 1869 by Charles Browne Fleet and based in Lynchburg, VA, Fleet started out as a small pharmacy providing novel, easy-to-use personal health and beauty merchandise. Today, Fleet Laboratories is a global provider of more than 100 personal health and beauty products. The Company’s product lines include Summer’s Eve® feminine hygiene products, the Fleet® disposable enema, Norforms® feminine deodorant suppositories, Pedia-Lax® laxatives for children, Phazyme® anti-gas medication, and the Boudreaux’s® brand of baby products.
About Gryphon Investors
Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors (www.gryphoninvestors.com) focuses on leveraged acquisitions of, and growth investments in, middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management teams. With more than $1.4 billion of cumulative equity commitments, Gryphon has an extensive track record of investing up to $100 million of its committed capital per investment in companies with sales ranging from approximately $100 to $500 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form proactive partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, professional resources and operational expertise.