NEW YORK–Ronin Equity Partners is pleased to announce the acquisitions of Red Apple Cheese, a market leader in smoked, flavored, and kosher specialty cheeses, Barron County Cheese, a major smoker and co-packer for the specialty cheese industry, and Cheese Brothers, an innovative eCommerce specialty cheese business.
The combined company will be an omni-channel and vertically integrated market leader in smoked, flavored, and kosher cheese, as well as an independent brand consolidator in a fragmented U.S. premium cheese and charcuterie market.
“We’re creating a powerful combination of ambitious companies, steeped in family-owned Wisconsin and New England traditions, and Ronin, which has the operational and market expertise in the cheese and consumer packaged goods space to turbocharge growth,” says Gene Graf, co-founder of Cheese Brothers and Barron County Cheese. Graf will lead operations for the new company. Cheese Brothers’ other co-founder, Eric Ludy, will lead marketing and eCommerce alongside one of Ronin’s partners, Tiffany Bell, who will step in as CFO. The group will be led by David Toy, who is joining as CEO from his previous role as Chief Commercial Officer of Sauer Brands and Kraft Heinz, where he led the Foodservice business.
Existing management and the acquired companies’ founders will retain a significant stake in the new group. “We’re incredibly excited about this partnership and felt the investment was perfect for us,” says Ronin Managing Partner David Feierstein. “We want to enable motivated, passionate founders and executives in fragmented industries, using our financial muscle and operational expertise to execute accelerated roll-ups.”
Ronin has completed two of an expected four platform deals as part of their inaugural fund, which closed on commitments of some $300 million in March from family offices including Landon Capital, Cardinal Equity, and First Haven Capital. Triago acted as the sole placement agent for Ronin Fund I. For the cheese industry transaction, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP acted as sole legal advisor and XMS Capital as sole buyside advisor.
About Ronin Equity Partners
Based in New York City, Ronin Equity Partners represents a new type of investment firm, powered by an operationally focused value creation strategy. Ronin makes control equity investments exclusively in the Industrial and Consumer sectors, where the team has prior operational expertise. The firm was founded by managing partners David Feierstein and Jesse Yao alongside other former senior executives from Kraft Heinz, NCR, and Diversey. The firm is supported by over twenty operating advisors in the consumer and industrials sectors.