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Entrepreneurial Equity Partners (“e2p”), a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on the food and consumer packaged goods industries, and the Private Equity business of Mubadala Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based asset management subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company, today announced that they have completed an investment in Mercer Foods (“Mercer”) and Thrive Foods (“Thrive”). The combination of the two businesses creates a North American market leader in freeze-dried products. The new platform will serve a variety of end markets including fruits and vegetables, proteins, pet treats, probiotics, enzymes, and prepared meals. Financial terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

Founded in 1980 and headquartered in Modesto, CA, Mercer is a leading provider of natural freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. The company’s clean-label offerings have broad applications across the food service, CPG, and retail channels. Mercer is an industry leader in freeze-dried innovation and supports its blue-chip customer base through a dedicated R&D team and best-in-class quality and service.

Founded in 2004 by Steve Palmer and Jason Budge, Thrive is a leading manufacturer of freeze-dried proteins, pet treats, probiotics, enzymes, and prepared meals. Thrive serves as a technical expert and flexible manufacturing partner for its customers. Additionally, the company has a strong stable of high-growth, proprietary brands including Thrive Life and PEAK Refuel.

“We have been targeting this segment for nearly three years and are excited to simultaneously combine two freeze dry businesses at the outset of our investment,” said Ryan Schweet, e2p Partner. “The freeze dry sector continues to be highly fragmented, and we look forward to partnering with Mubadala Capital to support the Mercer and Thrive teams in building a diversified market leader that will enable us to better service our customers.”

Adnan Azam, Director at Mubadala Capital, added: “We are thrilled to bring together these two great businesses and add to our portfolio of market-leading investments in the consumer and food services space. Both companies have built market-leading positions in their respective end markets and the combination will create a clear category leader of scale with opportunities to grow outside of its home market by leveraging our capabilities in the food space and the Mubadala Capital network more broadly.”

Mercer’s CEO, Rik Jacobs, said: “This investment represents a new chapter in the continued development of our business. We are excited to partner with Thrive to build an even better combined company. e2p and Mubadala Capital are committed to providing us with the necessary expertise and resources to support and accelerate our continued growth.”

“I’m excited about what lies ahead with this partnership. We have always admired Mercer’s expertise in fruits and vegetables and believe Thrive’s focus on probiotics, proteins, and prepared meals rounds out a complete product offering for our customers,” commented Thrive’s Founder, Steve Palmer.

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