Charlotte PE group Falfurrias buying Duke’s Mayonnaise maker

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Charlotte-based private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Partners  is acquiring The C.F. Sauer Co., the Richmond, Va.-based maker of the Duke’s Mayonnaise brand. Falfurrias officials said they signed a definitive agreement to buy the manufacturer’s food-business assets.

Terms weren’t disclosed, but the deal includes Sauer’s manufacturing facilities in Mauldin, S.C.; New Century, Kansas and San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Founded in 1887, Sauer brands include Duke’s Mayonnaise, The Spice Hunter, Sauer’s, Gold Medal, and BAMA.

Conrad F. Sauer IV, the fourth generation of his family to lead the company, will retire as president and CEO but remain a director. Bill Lovette, a 37-year food industry veteran with Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride, was  named interim CEO and executive chairman. Falfurrias Capital Partners principal Chip Johnson and partner Ken Walker also will join the board.

“I am so grateful to all of the people of The C.F. Sauer Co. who have helped write our company’s tremendous success story over the past 132 years, and I look to the future with great optimism,” Sauer said in a statement. “We have found the ideal growth partner in Falfurrias Capital Partners, and I look forward to working with Bill and the rest of the team to author the next chapter.”

The transaction is subject to shareholder approval at C.F. Sauer’s July 15 annual meeting July and other closing conditions. The new business will be known as Sauer Brands Inc.

“The C.F. Sauer Company is a proven performer in a durable growth market, and we see great potential to accelerate growth and provide new opportunities for employees throughout the company,” said Marc Oken, chairman of Falfurrias Capital Partners, said in a press release.

Falfurrias’ previous food industry investments include the Bojangles’ fast-food chain. It now has an investment in regional caterer Best Impressions.

Falfurrias Capital Partners was founded in 2006 by Hugh McColl Jr., former chairman and CEO of Bank of America; Oken, a former BofA CFO, and Managing Partner Ed McMahan.

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