North Castle Partners to Sell Ignite USA, LLC to Newell Rubbermaid
North Castle Partners and its co-investors announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement to sell Ignite USA, LLC (“Ignite”), a leading developer and marketer of reusable, environmentally friendly thermal mugs and hydration bottles primarily sold under the Contigo Brand, to Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL) for a purchase price of $308 million. For North Castle Partners, a leading private equity firm focused on consumer businesses that promote Healthy, Active and Sustainable Living, the transaction represents its first sale of a portfolio company from its recently closed fifth fund.
North Castle invested in Ignite in March 2013. Ignite, through its Contigo and Avex brands, is a leader in the thermal and hydration beverageware segments due to its product quality, superior design and technical innovation. Ignite has successfully created a diverse portfolio of innovative products that appeal to an extremely loyal and expanding consumer base. As a result, Contigo today is a leader in the thermal and hydration beverageware category in the U.S. with net sales expected to reach $125 million in 2014.
“North Castle’s mission is to partner with accomplished entrepreneurial management teams to build great companies that provide high quality, innovative products, which promote healthy and sustainable living,” said Alison Minter, a North Castle Managing Director. “In partnership with Sami El-Saden, Ignite’s CEO, we accelerated the company’s growth by leveraging our experience with innovation-driven product businesses, such as Cascade Sports and Octane Fitness, as well as companies with mass market distribution and channel expansion experience, including Atkins Nutritional, Enzymatic Therapy, Flatout Flatbread, Leiner Health Products, and Avalon Natural Brands.”
Chip Baird, Founder and Managing Director, added, “We are proud of our successful partnership with Sami and the Ignite management team. As a focused fund, North Castle identifies high-growth, niche segments within larger industries, and partners with extraordinary management teams to build great companies. We believe that Ignite, as part of the Newell Rubbermaid family of brands, is well positioned to be a global leader in two of the fastest growing segments of the housewares industry.”
“I enjoyed being a member of the North Castle family and was impressed by their values and commitment to partnership, as well as the knowledge and expertise of their team, particularly in the areas of strategy and brand, which set the foundation for us to take our company to its next level,” said Sami El-Saden, CEO. “I am excited for Contigo to be part of the Newell Rubbermaid family of brands and believe they are a great match for us, as they share our commitment to building a brand and innovation-led company known for great design and superior product performance.”
“We believe the growth of Ignite illustrates the benefits of our focused approach and is representative of the broader value creation that we are driving across our entire portfolio of companies,” said Mr. Baird. “We are always interested in new opportunities across the Healthy, Active and Sustainable Living markets to leverage our knowledge, network and experience in building market leaders like Ignite,” concluded Ms. Minter.
Morrison Cohen LLP represented North Castle Partners and the Company in the transaction.