Capstone Headwaters, now Capstone Partners, advised Gerawan Farming (Gerawan) on its merger with Wawona Packing Co., LLC (Wawona).
Gerawan is the largest stone fruit producer in North America and, over its 70-year history, became widely recognized as the industry pioneer with best-in-class farming, packing practices and proprietary varieties marketed under the Prima brand. Wawona is a supplier of high-quality stone fruit and a leader in the organic segment of the market. The merger builds upon the legacies and reputations of the two industry-leading companies and creates an enhanced platform for growth and innovation.
The combined company will be led by Dan Gerawan, who as an investor will be the largest individual shareholder and Chief Executive Officer of the merged entity.
From the start we knew it was going to be an extremely complicated transaction since my partners had different objectives. It was only because of the diligence, creativity and industry knowledge of Capstone’s Consumer Group that such an extraordinary outcome was achieved. Our family made the right choice by retaining this team. Capstone’s approach as a strategic partner allowed me to achieve my objectives of being both the largest individual investor in this transaction while attaining some liquidity.
“It has been a privilege to represent Gerawan Farming. Ray Gerawan started the company over 70 years ago with a small plot of land that, according to Ray, “God didn’t even want.” From this humble beginning, Gerawan Farming became recognized for not only being the largest in the industry but also developing innovative farming practices and delivering premium quality that few have been able to replicate,” commented Bill Harrison, Managing Director and Head of Consumer Investment Banking at Capstone Headwaters. “It will be exciting to watch the evolution of these industry leaders. With the combined company run by Dan Gerawan, I anticipate it will set new industry standards across both farming and packing operations and the pace of innovation and operational excellence will be recognized across the entire produce industry.”
“In 2017 it was an honor to represent Wawona Packing, the industry leader in organic stone fruit, on its sale to Paine Schwartz. It has been a unique privilege advising Gerawan Farming, another industry leader and pioneer in the conventional stone fruit category, on its merger with Wawona,“ said Shaun Kalnasy, Managing Director with Capstone Headwaters. “Very rarely does the opportunity exist to work with, let alone combine, two such well-run and innovative companies that lead in their respective categories. We know they will achieve great things together.”
Paine Schwartz Partners is a private equity firm specializing in sustainable food chain investing. With a differentiated focus on the global food and agribusiness sectors, Paine Schwartz leverages its thesis-driven approach and operational expertise to enhance value in each of its investments.