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Equal owner Whole Earth Brands to go private in sweetened takeover bid

Dive Brief:

Dive Insight:

At the time it went public, Whole Earth Brands’ portfolio included Equal; Whole Earth, a sweetener made largely from stevia and monk fruit; and a pair of brands available outside the U.S. Since then, the company has purchased Swerve, a keto-focused sugar replacement, and Wholesome Sweeteners, a maker of organic, fair-trade certified sugar, honey, agave nectar, allulose and other liquid sweeteners.

The decision to go private gives Whole Earth the ability to grow its business without the volatility that comes with being publicly traded as well as ongoing supply chain headaches and inflation challenges impacting it and other U.S. companies. In November, Whole Earth reported consolidated product revenues of $400 million for the first nine months of its fiscal year, essentially flat from the same period a year ago. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), a calculation which measures core profitability, decreased $3.2 million, or 5.4%, to $55.8 million.

“Following a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, we are pleased to announce this transaction today, which we believe to be in the best interest of all our shareholders, providing them with the most compelling outcome in terms of maximizing value while offering immediate liquidity at a significant premium,” Irwin Simon, Whole Earth’s chairman, said in a statement.

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