Cibo Vita announced on Wednesday that Citation Capital, a private equity firm specializing in founder and family-led businesses, will acquire a majority interest in the company. Citation will become Cibo Vita’s first outside shareholder. Cibo Vita’s co-founders Emre Imamoglu and Ahmet Celik will continue to hold a significant ownership interest.
Cibo Vita has created natural and functional snacks for supermarkets, big box chains and warehouse clubs nationwide. Nature’s Garden is its flagship brand and an industry leader in innovating the smart snacking category with its national presence, focusing on better-for-you snacking. The company is headquartered in Totowa, New Jersey, with three manufacturing facilities and employs over 900 individuals.
Together, Cibo Vita and Citation will advance the company’s growth trajectory while delivering on the mission of providing smart snacking choices for every household. Citation will work shoulder-to-shoulder with Cibo Vita for continued growth and success.
“Our vision in founding Cibo Vita was to bring healthier snacking options to all families, inspired by our Mediterranean roots,” CEO, Emre Imamoglu said. “Throughout our history, we have experienced phenomenal growth, attributed to our innovation capabilities, commitment to quality, and a drive to meet the needs of consumers increasingly seeking healthier functional snacking. We sought out a strategic partner that could help ensure that we stay on the forefront of innovation and who is aligned with our personal core values.”
Ahmet Celik, president of Cibo Vita, asserts the importance of seeking a strategic affiliate that aligns with the company’s identity, “We found a differentiated partner in the Citation team, given their resolute focus on performance and deep understanding of the importance of values and culture in founder-led businesses.”
“Emre and Ahmet started from an idea, believing that they could bring better snacking habits to North American consumers, and put everything they had into building Cibo Vita into a highly innovative, profitable business that provides value-added services and products to some of the most coveted customers in North America,” Tiffany Hagge, Citation founder and managing partner said. “Cibo Vita exemplifies Citation’s investment philosophy in backing fundamentally strong, defensible businesses with exceptional cultures and shared values, helping them to become ‘best in class’ in their segment through strategic partnership, operational excellence, and relentless focus on execution.”
“With its reputation for continuous innovation, exceptional management, and great-tasting products, Cibo Vita is a leader in better-for-you foods. We are thrilled to join Emre, Ahmet and their team on this journey to further unlock growth opportunities for Cibo Vita’s customers, employees, and suppliers for years to come,” Lydie Hudson, co-founder and president of Citation said.
Nelson Mullins served as the Company’s legal advisor. Gibson Dunn acted as legal advisor to Citation. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and American Ag Credit will lead the committed financing to support the transaction. Closing of the transaction is expected later this year and is subject to customary regulatory and other conditions. Additional terms were not disclosed.