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June 27, 2024

BGL Advises Specialty Food Manufacturer The Zidian Group on its Acquisition by Lassonde Industries

Brown Gibbons Lang & Company (BGL) is pleased to announce The Zidian Group, which operates Summer Garden Food Manufacturing (Summer Garden), has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Lassonde Industries Inc. (TSX: LAS.A) (Lassonde), a manufacturer of private label and branded food and beverage products. BGL’s Food and Beverage investment banking team is serving as the exclusive financial advisor to The Zidian Group. This deal marks another successful branded food M&A transaction for the Food & Beverage team and furthers their experience and expertise in the consumer-packaged goods sector.

Based in Boardman, Ohio, Summer Garden operates out of a 10-acre campus consisting of a Green LEED-certified manufacturing facility with research & development and production capabilities, including high-acid and low-acid (retort) manufacturing capabilities. Summer Garden is an owned subsidiary of The Zidian Group, a family-owned manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of premium sauces, including BBQ sauces and pasta sauces, as well as dipping sauces, marinades, dressings, and other shelf-stable products. The business’ owned brands include G Hughes Sugar Free, Little Italy in the Bronx, and Gia Russa. It is also a recognized and trusted co-packer for well-known and growing brands. The company’s product portfolio consists of more than 250 products sold at more than 20,000 retail outlets.

Zidian Group’s owned brands include:

  • G Hughes Sugar Free: the leader in the sugar-free and better-for-you (“BFY”) barbeque sauce segment, as well as dipping sauces, marinades, dressings, and other specialty sauces
  • Little Italy in the Bronx: a super-premium line of Italian pasta sauces inspired by Arthur Avenue, one of the oldest Italian neighborhoods in the United States
  • Gia Russa: a diversified portfolio of Italian food products, including pasta, pasta sauces, oils, olives, vinegars and other specialty food products

The acquisition of Summer Garden to Lassonde’s portfolio will catalyze their ongoing growth in the branded and private label specialty food sectors with the expansion of new product offerings and manufacturing capabilities. Lassonde’s culture and values align seamlessly with those of Summer Garden, a multi-generational family business known for its entrepreneurial spirit and strong commitment to its employees, customers, consumers, and the communities it serves.

“I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this transaction. The goal for my family when we began considering alternatives for the company was to identify the ideal partner who could preserve and grow what we have built over the last 75+ years with Summer Garden. BGL did an incredible job positioning and communicating our story to the market, which enabled us to select Lassonde to support the company’s exciting growth trajectory within both the Branded Products and Contract Manufacturing divisions,” said Thomas Zidian, founder and owner of The Zidian Group. “I thank Dan, Stephen, and the rest of the BGL Food & Beverage team for providing invaluable strategic advice, a steadfast commitment to the transaction, and delivering outstanding results.”

BGL’s Food and Beverage investment banking team, led by BGL Managing Director Daniel Gomez, has deep sector knowledge and extensive transaction experience, representing companies across the entire food and beverage landscape. Coverage includes retail of both branded and private label products, global supply chain sourcing, contract manufacturing, processing, distribution, and wholesale.

To learn more about the state of food & beverage M&A, including the trends and opportunities in the specialty food sector, download our most recent Food and Beverage research reports by clicking here.