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GTCR completes Fairmount Cheese Holdings sale

Private equity firm GTCR has completed the previously announced sale of Fairmount Cheese Holdings Inc, the parent company of DCI Cheese Company Inc, to Saputo Inc for $270.5 million.

Fairmount is one of the largest national suppliers of specialty cheese, dips, and spreads to retail and foodservice channels. Headquartered in Deerfield IL with additional facilities in Wisconsin, New Jersey, and California, Fairmount sells more than 160 million pounds and 100 types of cheese, including its own portfolio of owned and exclusive brands.

GTCR founded Fairmount in 2003 to acquire and consolidate companies in the high-growth, highly fragmented specialty cheese industry. The initial platform acquisition for Fairmount was DCI in 2005. Between 2006 and 2007, Fairmount completed four other significant acquisitions in the specialty cheese and refrigerated foods space with additional equity capital provided by GTCR.

Michael Mulhern, chief executive officer of Fairmount, said, “We thank GTCR for its commitment to our business as we’ve built Fairmount from under $90 million of sales in 2005 to nearly $460 million of sales in 2010 through both internal growth and strategic acquisitions. Our management team looks forward to working with Saputo to continue this growth.”

The acquisition will complement the activities of Saputo Dairy Products Division (USA) and increase its presence in the specialty cheese category in the United States. Saputo produces, markets and distributes products including cheese, fluid milk, yogurt, and dairy ingredients. It is the 12th-largest dairy processor globally, the largest in Canada, the third-largest in Argentina, and among the top three cheese producers in the United States.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and BMO Capital Markets served as Fairmount’s financial advisors, and Kirkland & Ellis, LLP provided legal counsel.

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