Rao’s Homemade Owner Sovos Brands Said to Explore Sale, IPO

Private equity firm Advent International is exploring strategic options for Sovos Brands, a food and beverage company with Rao’s Homemade and Noosa yogurt among its brands, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Advent is working with an adviser as it weighs alternatives including a sale or initial public offering of Sovos, said the people, who asked not to be identified.

Berkeley, California-based Sovos, led by founder and Chief Executive Officer Todd Lachman, posted 2020 revenue of about $800 million, and is on track for 30% annual growth, said a person with knowledge of the matter. Sovos’s targeted valuation couldn’t immediately be learned, but publicly traded rival Hain Celestial Group Inc. trades at about twice its fiscal 2020 revenue. Sovos, which has about $474 million of debt outstanding, according to Bloomberg data, could fetch $2 billion to $3 billion in a transaction, the people said.

The company, which says its mission is to acquire and build one-of-a-kind brands, owns Michael Angelo’s, which specializes in frozen Italian meals; Birch Benders, a maker of pancake and waffle mix; Rao’s, best known for its pasta sauce; and Noosa yogurt, a brand named after the Australian resort town.

An Advent representative declined to comment and a Sovos representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

As consumers cook at home more often during the pandemic, many food and beverage companies have thrived. Several have gone public or sought to go public, including Duckhorn Portfolio Inc., a wine producer backed by TSG Consumer Partners; and Oatly, the vegan drink and food maker which counts Belgian family-owned investment firm Verlinvest, Blackstone Group Inc. and Oprah Winfrey as investors.

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