M&M – trading as RibWorld, Callan Bacon and Stirchley Bacon – will be integrated into Eight Fifty’s pork division, while its sous-vide products are added to its existing customer offering.
Commenting on the acquisition, Eight Fifty group chief executive Di Walker, who was previously executive chairman of Karro Food Group said: “Eight Fifty have been working with the Walshe and Clohessy families for over 30 years and have seen their business grow significantly to become one of Europe’s largest sous-vide specialists today.
“We’re delighted to welcome M&M Walshe into the Eight Fifty Food Group and look forward to continue growing with them.”
£1.4bn of sales
CapVest expected sales of up to £1.4bn for Eight Fifty after the acquisition of M&M Walshe Holdings and will employ more than 7,500 people across 19 sites in the UK and Ireland. This would include M&M’s 550 employees at its sites in Tipperary and Kilkenny in the Republic of Ireland and Redditch in the UK.
The Walshe family, operators of M&M since its foundation in 1981, will remain involved in the business.
John Walshe, on behalf of M&M, added: “The interest shown in our business is a great reflection of the quality of our products, our people and our loyal customer base. We look forward to working with Di Walker and the Eight Fifty team and seeing the business flourish under new ownership.”
The transaction is subject to standard closing conditions and approval from the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
Since CapVest announced the acquisition of Karro Food Group in 2017, Karro went on to acquire Leicestershire-based cooked meat specialist TS Bloor & Sons, then Young’s Seafood in 2019.
Expansion into Europe
Jason Rodrigues, partner at CapVest, said the integration of M&M’s products and services into Eight Fifty would help the business further into Europe.
“We look forward to working closely with management to accelerate investment and leverage the Eight Fifty platform to drive European sales of their sous-vide products,” he concluded.
CapVest’s purchase of M&M through Eight Fifty ran counter to dampened market expectations for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity during and after the outbreak of coronavirus.
Last month, M&A specialist Oghma Partners’ Mark Lynch warned foodservice suppliers in particular would be last in line to receive investment for M&A activities, with even the biggest risk takers hesitant to lend their support to a side of the industry that has been so battered by COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Liverpool-based Sykes Seafood completed the acquisition of processor Klaas Puul from the Dutch Seafood Company, leading to the creation of a €300m (£269m) pan European seafood business.