Capstone Partners Advises Leslie’s Organics on the Sale of its Coconut Secret Brand to Nutiva
Capstone Partners advised Leslie’s Organics LLC (dba Coconut Secret), creator of the leading brand of Coconut Aminos, on its sale to Nutiva, Inc., a portfolio company of Lion Capital LLP and Hummingbird Brands.
Both Randy and I very much enjoyed building the business, but we reached a point where we realized it was time to grow the brand to keep up with rapidly changing consumer trends. It was important to us that Capstone would find a new owner that was going to be steadfastly dedicated to maintaining the organic ethos of the Coconut Secret brand. And they did just that!
After eleven years of consistent annual growth, owners and siblings, Leslie Caren and Randy Stoler, decided it was time to grow their company via new ownership for Leslie’s Organics. Their brand, Coconut Secret, established itself as the leader in the soy-free Asian sauces category that they created, with their introduction of the first soy-free, low-sodium soy sauce replacement, Coconut Aminos. Coconut Secret started with a simple vision: to make a delicious line of healthy, organic, low-glycemic foods for their diabetic parents. Today that vision has extended the brand to nationwide distribution in Whole Foods and over 10,000 natural/organic health food stores and conventional grocery chains. The Company has developed a loyal following of customers looking to remove soy and gluten from their diets while maintaining flavorful, organic seasonings for their meals. Recently, the owners extended the brand by adding both Teriyaki and Garlic versions of their Coconut Aminos. With the recent launch of three additional Asian sauces and a pipeline of new ideas, the owners recognized the need to bring in professional management to realize the Brand’s full potential in the competitive CPG environment.
We had a thin management team and Capstone did a tremendous amount of work not only to market the Company but also to manage the deal through to the end to closing. There was much more involved in the process beyond just finding a buyer. We formed a close partnership with the team from Capstone and that enabled us to be successful.
“Randy, Leslie, and their investors were a pleasure to work with. They are passionate entrepreneurs with a meaningful brand, the type we at Capstone love to represent,” said Tom Elliott, Managing Director and lead banker on the transaction. “We definitely rolled up our sleeves on this deal, but the business performed well throughout the pandemic and we found a like-minded buyer that appreciated the Coconut Secret brand and its position in the market. We are looking forward to seeing the brand grow and succeed in the future.”
Nutiva is a pioneer of organic plant-based food with a purpose to revolutionize the way the world eats with foods that nurture people and planet. Nutiva has a strong organic culinary oils portfolio including being the top selling brand and share leader in Coconut Oil in the Natural Channel, making the acquisition of Coconut Secret a natural extension of its Coconut portfolio. Nutiva’s product portfolio also includes Organic Avocado Oil, Organic MCT Oil, Organic Hazlenut Spreads among other items. Nutiva products are offered nationwide, as well as in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Canada. Nutiva is a portfolio company of Lion Capital LLP and Hummingbird Brands. For more information, visit www.nutiva.com.