VR Equity sells stake in dried herb specialist Groneweg to Thrive Foods

Photo: Peter Sachse, Co-Mana­ging Direc­tor of VR Equi­typ­art­ner (© VR Equity)
28. June 2023

Frank­furt am Main/Greven — Fran­k­­furt-based private equity firm VR Equi­typ­art­ner has reached a binding agree­ment to sell its signi­fi­cant mino­rity stake in Grone­weg Group (Greven), a leading global specia­list in high-quality freeze-dried and air-dried herbs, vege­ta­bles and fruits. The merger with U.S.-based Thrive Foods will create a strong and compe­ti­tive player in food freeze-drying — from fruits, vege­ta­bles and spices to pet food and probio­tics. The tran­sac­tion is still subject to custo­mary closing condi­ti­ons, inclu­ding regu­la­tory appr­ovals. The parties have agreed not to disc­lose details of the contract.

Grone­weg was foun­ded in 1969 and is a global player in freeze-dried herbs. The wide range of products includes herbs, spices, vege­ta­bles and fruits. With an inter­na­tio­nal sales team at six loca­ti­ons in Europe, North America and Latin America, the Grone­weg Group has a broad distri­bu­tion network. Groneweg’s know-how covers the entire value chain, from the high-quality raw mate­ri­als secu­red in contract farming, through prepa­ra­tion, drying and further proces­sing, to the sale of the finis­hed products. Strict inter­nal test­ing systems and inten­sive coope­ra­tion with suppli­ers have also enab­led the company to conti­nu­ally expand its market position.

Thrive Foods is a manu­fac­tu­rer of freeze-dried products such as fruits and vege­ta­bles, prote­ins, pet foods, probio­tics, enzy­mes and prepared foods. The company curr­ently has loca­ti­ons in Mode­sto, Cali­for­nia; Ameri­can Fork, Utah; and Albion, New York.

The sellers of the Grone­weg Group are Ursula Grone­weg with her two daugh­ters and VR Equi­typ­art­ner. In the course of the tran­sac­tion with the Ameri­can company Thrive Foods, they are giving up their shares in full.

“We are happy about this next important step in the deve­lo­p­ment of our company. I am sure our company foun­der Dieter Grone­weg would have been deligh­ted to see his life’s work as part of this new group of compa­nies revo­lu­tio­ni­zing the market,” says Ursula Grone­weg. Grone­weg Mana­ging Direc­tor Karl-Heinz Waszik adds: “Over the past few years, we have imple­men­ted a strin­gent growth stra­tegy with our top manage­ment and share­hol­ders and worked perma­nently on the deve­lo­p­ment of new products. This is now paying off: Grone­weg Group is a perfect part­ner for our common goals with Thrive Foods.”

VR Equi­typ­art­ner had acqui­red a signi­fi­cant mino­rity stake in Novem­ber 2017. Since then, a consis­tent growth stra­tegy has been pursued, with market entry in further Euro­pean count­ries, an expan­sion of the company’s presence throug­hout North America and the further acqui­si­tion of shares in compa­nies in Latin America. In addi­tion, the product range has been expan­ded and new stra­te­gic supply part­ner­ships have ensu­red a high level of supply capa­bi­lity, which has proved very successful, parti­cu­larly in the chal­len­ging past years.

“We have achie­ved a lot in the five years we have been toge­ther with the foun­ding family,” says Peter Sachse (photo), mana­ging direc­tor of VR Equi­typ­art­ner. “It is hard to imagine a better stra­te­gic fit than the acqui­si­tion of Grone­weg by Thrive Foods. In addi­tion to the geogra­phi­cal expan­sion, the two compa­nies comple­ment each other perfectly in terms of product ranges and asso­cia­ted know-how. From our perspec­tive, this is a forward-looking decis­ion with the best pros­pects for further growth.”

About VR Equitypartner

VR Equi­typ­art­ner is one of the leading equity finan­ciers in Germany, Austria and Switz­er­land. The company supports medium-sized family busi­nesses in a goal-orien­­ted manner and with deca­des of expe­ri­ence in the stra­te­gic solu­tion of complex finan­cing issues. Invest­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties include growth and expan­sion finan­cing, corpo­rate succes­sion or share­hol­der chan­ges. VR Equi­typ­art­ner offers majo­rity and mino­rity invest­ments as well as mezza­nine finan­cing. As a subsi­diary of DZ BANK, the central insti­tu­tion of the coope­ra­tive banks in Germany, VR Equi­typ­art­ner consis­t­ently puts the sustaina­bi­lity of corpo­rate deve­lo­p­ment ahead of short-term exit thin­king. VR Equitypartner’s port­fo­lio curr­ently compri­ses around 60 commit­ments with an invest­ment volume of EUR 400 million.

The tran­sac­tion team of VR Equi­typ­art­ner: Tim Feld, Hedwig Holken­brink, Daniel Seifert, Jens Osthoff

Advi­sor VR Equitypartner:

M&A: Square­field (Dr. Boris Hippel, Dorian Bindemann)

Finance: Grant Thorn­ton (Klaus Schaldt, Johan­nes Kost, Felix Bickel Carioni)

Tax: Grant Thorn­ton (Dr. Stefan Hahn, Dr. Nico­las Brüggen)

Legal: Noerr (Dr. Martin Neuhaus, Gerrit Henze, Florian Döpking, Hannah Best­ing, Phil­ipp Buchs, Clau­dia Rinkens)


Subscribe newsletter

Here you can read about the latest transactions, IPOs, private equity deals and venture capital investments, who has raised a new fund, how Buy & Build activities are going.

Get in touch

Contact us!
fyb [at]