Private Equity group acquires U.S. Mills from Sunset Brands

by Jeff Gelski
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BALA CYNWYD, PA. — SIG Strategic Investments, L.L.L.P., part of the Susquehanna International Group of Companies, has acquired the assets of U.S. Mills, Inc., Needham, Mass., from Sunset Brands, Inc.

U.S. Mills develops and markets cereal and snack food brands, including Uncle Sam, Erewhon, Farina, New Morning and Skinner’s. SIG is an institutional, sales, research, investment banking and market making firm.

"We have searched diligently for a good company in the natural/organic/whole grain space and think we have found a great company in U.S. Mills," said Scott Feldman of SIG.

Charles Verde, chief executive officer of U.S. Mills, and Cynthia Davis, president and chief operating officer of U.S. Mills, will continue as the executive management team. Other team members will remain in their current roles.

The transaction follows by a little more than a year the November 2005 acquisition of U.S. Mills by Sunset Brands amid considerable fanfare. At the time, the company’s c.e.o. Todd Sanders noted Sunset Brands was the "first public company that is primarily dedicated" to the reduced-carbohydrate market. Sunset also owned Low Carb Creations, which marketed reduced-carbohydrate pizza, cheesecake, cookies and pasta.

From a price of more than $4 per share in March 2005 when plans for the acquisition were first announced, Sunset Brand shares have fallen steadily and precipitously, closing recently in over-the-counter trading at 1.5c per share.

"We’ve known for a long time that we have great brands in a dynamic and growing category," Mr. Verde said. "SIG has recognized that as well, and we are excited that they have chosen to invest in the company."

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