Well, that really takes the biscuit.
Chicago investment firm PPC Partners on Wednesday announced it has acquired C.H. Guenther & Son, the oldest family-owned business in Texas, perhaps best known for its baking products and the landmark 20-story concrete grain elevator in King William.
The acquisition was led by PPC in partnership with co-investors and current management who will continue to lead the company, according to a statement. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. PPC generally invests in mid-market companies valued between $100 million and $750 million.
Founded in 1851 by German immigrant Carl Hilmar Guenther, C.H. Guenther & Son operated primarily as a flour mill into the 20th century, trademarking new flour blends before creating its first consumer convenience food, a wheat cereal, in 1932.
Pioneer biscuit mix came along in 1950, and in the 1960s and 1970s, the company expanded into other states, food services, and the restaurant industry.
Today, C.H. Guenther & Son manufactures and markets a variety of grain-based and seasoning products, including artisan breads, buns, rolls, biscuits, gravy mixes, frozen appetizers, spices, and desserts. Last year, the company acquired Les Plats Du Chef, a Canada-based frozen meal and snack business.
Headquartered in San Antonio, the company owns the King William staples Guenther House restaurant and the Pioneer Flour Mills. C.H. Guenther & Son employs 2,500 people in 19 food manufacturing locations in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe.
The company will continue to maintain its headquarters offices, located at the Bakery Building on Broadway Street, and a technical service center in San Antonio.
“You can’t get to 167 years in business without a fantastic group of people,” Michael Nelson, investment partner with PPC Partners, told Food Business News. “C.H. Guenther is a clear market leader. They usually have a No. 1 or No. 2 position in key markets.”
PPC Partners acquires and operates North American companies in the manufactured products, services, and healthcare sectors. Its current holdings include an environmental remediation company, a dining cruise business, both based in Illinois, a packaging provider in Ohio, and several others.
According to the statement from PPC, the firm “builds businesses for the long term, and is an ideal partner for entrepreneur- and family-owned companies.”
“While this is our first investment in food, we are invested in a number of packaging companies that are a part of the food business,” Nelson stated. “So, the same businesses Guenther serves are also served by our other businesses that provide food packaging.”
Tony Pritzker, chairman and CEO of PPC Partners called C.H. Guenther & Son “a clear market leader with an outstanding management team.
“Combining our flexible capital base and industry knowledge with this management team will enable the company to generate new opportunities for growth while continuing the family legacy.”
Last year, the Pritzker Family showed interest in doing business in San Antonio when it bid on the 10-year, $100 million river barge contract via its company Entertainment Cruises. After a re-do on the proposal process and against City staff recommendation, the bid went to Landry’s-owned Go Rio San Antonio.
“We are delighted to partner with a group like PPC Partners that shares our values and commitment to employees, customers and suppliers,” stated Dale Tremblay, CEO of C.H. Guenther & Son.
The current C.H. Guenther management team will continue to lead the company, Tremblay told Food Business News, and no changes are planned for the company’s manufacturing footprint.