Karoun Dairies has been sold to Parmalat

Lincoln International (“Lincoln”), a leading global mid-market investment bank, is pleased to announce that Karoun Dairies, Inc. and Central Valley Cheese, Inc. (together “Karoun”, or the “Company”), a U.S. producer and distributor of branded ethnic cheeses, yogurts and cultured dairy products, has been acquired by LAG Holding, Inc., a subsidiary of Parmalat Group (“Parmalat”), a global player in the production and distribution of dairy products.

Founded in 1992, Karoun is a family-owned manufacturer, distributor and marketer of specialty-branded, ethnic food and beverage products, including cheeses, yogurts, yogurt beverages, spreads and dips. Through a diverse base of retailers and distribution channels, the Company’s products appeal to the fast-growing multicultural population, as well as to mainstream consumers who are increasingly adopting ethnic cuisines. Winners of over 170 best-in-class awards, Karoun’s high-quality, branded products have a loyal following around the world. The Company is strategically located in the dairy-rich state of California, with a distribution center in San Fernando and a manufacturing plant in Turlock.

Rostom Baghdassarian, CEO of Karoun, commented, “After years of working toward the successful execution of growth initiatives for our business, and carefully nurturing our multiple brands and hundreds of SKUs, we were excited to find the right partner in Parmalat. Lincoln’s deep familiarity with the universe of potential acquirers in the food and beverage space was an immense help to us, as we sought guidance on this very important decision. We are ecstatic with the outcome of this process for our family, our employees and our customers.”

Tsolak Khatcherian, CFO of Karoun, added, “Lincoln’s hands-on approach was incredibly helpful and allowed us to focus on achieving our operational targets and maximizing the growth of our business. In addition, their cross-border experience helped us navigate the complexities of this global transaction.”

Lincoln was the exclusive financial advisor to Karoun, and worked closely with the management team and family throughout the sale process. The Lincoln team provided mergers and acquisitions and industry expertise and closely managed all aspects of the process, including preparatory activities, deal marketing, due diligence and negotiations.

About Karoun Dairies
Founded in 1992, Karoun is a family-run business reflecting the true fulfillment of the American dream. The Company has grown from creating hand-braided string cheese in a small plant to producing hundreds of different products across a wide variety of ethnic specialty cheeses and yogurt products. Karoun still maintains their original network of local, artisan merchants, but now also has distribution through nationwide mainstream retailers. Karoun cheeses and yogurts are made with milk from cows free of growth hormones. For more information, please visit www.karouncheese.com and www.blueislespread.com.

About Parmalat / Lactalis
Parmalat S.p.A., which is listed on the Italian Stock Exchange, has been controlled by the Lactalis Group since July 15, 2011. The Parmalat Group is a global player in the production and distribution of foods that are essential for everyday wellness: milk, dairy products (yogurt, cream-based sauces, desserts and cheese) and fruit beverages. Parmalat generated revenues of more than 6.4 billion euros in 2016. For more information, visit www.parmalat.com/en/.

Founded in France over 80 years ago, the Lactalis family group is one of the world’s largest dairy groups in the world, employing more than 75,000 people in 85 countries worldwide. Lactalis is active in all categories of the dairy market and is the number one cheese manufacturer in the world. The group’s prestigious brands include Bridel, Galbani, Parmalat, Président, Rachel’s Organic, Société and Valmont. Lactalis generated over $18 billion in revenue in 2016. For more information, visit www.lactalis.fr/en/.

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