January 28, 2013
Interviewed by: David Snow
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Deal Story: Jenny Craig

CEO Ted Virtue of MidOcean Partners talks about his firm’s investment in, and exit from, Jenny Craig.

CEO Ted Virtue of MidOcean Partners talks about his firm’s investment in, and exit from, Jenny Craig.

Ted Virtue, MidOcean Partners: Our investment strategy is a very disciplined one. First, we look for where transformative themes are in the industries that we follow. Then we try and marry that up with an operating partner that we bring in proactively to try and identify that and run that company for us. And then we try and go out and find the company beforehand.

One of the areas that we’ve really focused on in the last decade has been the whole health and wellness side of things. It’s a very fragmented space. It’s high growth. People are spending more money looking better, living longer, living healthier. So we saw that as a great opportunity for a mid-market buyout fund to find these transformative trends going on here.

We’ve actually bought a number of companies. Jenny Craig was the first one we bought. It was really at the time we bought it in real need of a new management team and a new strategy. So we changed over 9 of the top 10 managers of that company, took what was a great brand and a great space, diet, which we all know today less than about all the changes going on in obesity and health around weight loss. And they had a great brand, and we really changed the scope of that business from a purely retail-oriented food business into a global brand.

So it was a very successful deal for us. We really did change out the product. We changed out their distribution. We changed out their IT and systems and marketing. And we’re able to make north of 10 times their money in five years by bring those qualities to a great company.

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