The C.F. Sauer Co. is no longer owned by the family that operated the Richmond-based global food manufacturing business for four generations.
Charlotte, N.C.-based private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Partners is the new owner. It completed its purchase of certain assets of C.F. Sauer on Thursday, company representatives said.
Terms of the deal, announced in June and approved by family shareholders on July 15, were not disclosed.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to build on the legacy the Sauer family has created in this great city and to continue to position Duke’s Mayonnaise and all of the company’s brands for success,” said Chip Johnson, a principal at Falfurrias Capital Partners who grew up in Wytheville and graduated in 2007 from the University of Virginia.
Falfurrias Capital Partners acquired only C.F. Sauer’s food business, which includes a broad line of condiments, spices, seasonings and extracts, including Duke’s Mayonnaise, The Spice Hunter, Sauer’s, Gold Medal and BAMA. The company’s products are sold at supermarkets in the U.S. and in other stores around the globe.
Business will continue as usual, said Falfurrias Capital Partners.
The new owners posted on the C.F. Sauer website: “New parent company, Sauer Brands Inc., confirms Sauer’s products will not change. The new owners grew up on Sauer’s and are loyal fans.”
The company’s 860 employees, including about 165 in the Richmond region, will remain.
Conrad F. Sauer IV, who was named president in 1993 and is the fourth generation of his family to lead the business, stepped down as the company’s president and CEO. The company began in 1887 when his great-grandfather started making vanilla extract in Shockoe Bottom.
Sauer will serve on the board of directors of Sauer Brands, the name of the new company operating the business. Johnson also gets a board seat.
Replacing Sauer as interim CEO and executive chairman is William W. “Bill” Lovette, a 37-year food industry veteran who left as CEO of the poultry processor Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. in March.
The Sauer family retains ownership of its significant real estate portfolio owned by Sauer Properties Inc., its development and real estate subsidiary. The family will continue to own the company’s headquarters and manufacturing plant complex at 2000 W. Broad St. at Hermitage Road, under the iconic neon sign for its vanilla extract. It has operated there since 1911.
Falfurrias Capital was founded in 2006 by Hugh McColl Jr., former chairman and chief executive of Bank of America; Marc Oken, former chief financial officer of Bank of America; and Ed McMahan, the firm’s managing partner who served as a principal at a couple of other private equity firms.