Gehl Foods’ Acquisition of California Natural Products


Reed Smith LLP served as legal counsel to Gehl and Wind Point, while CNP was advised by Cascadia Capital and Perkins Coie LLP.

Gehl Foods, LLC (“Gehl”), a market-leading producer of dairy-based, shelf-stable beverages, cheese sauces and other products, finalized the acquisition of California Natural Products (“CNP”). CNP, headquartered in Lathrop, California, is an aseptic packager of dairy-based and dairy alternative beverages, soups, broths, teas, nutritional drinks, and wine and spirits, all in Tetra Pak cartons. CNP also manufactures specialty rice and soy-based ingredients for blue-chip consumer food brands.

The combination of Gehl and CNP creates a leading provider of low-acid aseptic food and beverage products, offering a breadth of packaging formats and geographic reach. With its manufacturing facility in Germantown, Wisconsin, Gehl’s aseptic packaging capabilities include bag-in-box, pouch, #10 can, HDPE and PET single-serve bottles. Through its West Coast operation, CNP offers filling capabilities across eight unique carton sizes, in addition to ingredient development and manufacturing. CNP also adds a high-quality group of long-term customer relationships to the Gehl family and provides access to several growing end markets.

Founded by J.P. Gehl in 1896 as a creamery, Gehl Foods is a Germantown, Wisconsin-based manufacturer of ready-to-serve, real dairy products in the sauce and nutritional beverage segments. J.P.’s grandson, John Gehl, led the company for almost 50 years before transitioning leadership to Katherine Gehl, who became President & CEO in 2011 and set the business on a course for long-term growth. Gehl is led today by CEO Eric Beringause, who assumed leadership at the time of Wind Point’s investment in March 2015. The company operates in the low-acid aseptic market through three primary facilities and has widespread distribution throughout North America. Gehl’s robust research & development platform has produced a range of unique beverage and cheese formulations that are both licensed to national brands, as well as sold under private label families at large national retailers.

Founded in 1980 by owner Pat Mitchell, CNP operates out of three facilities in Lathrop, California, and enjoys longstanding relationships with established consumer brands as well as emerging brands across a variety of product categories. These categories include dairy and non-dairy based beverages, soups, sauces, tea, coffee and nutritional beverages. In addition, CNP offers specialty ingredient development and manufacturing capability in segments such as rice-based syrups and sweeteners, soy milk and non-dairy protein.

Perkins Coie represented California Natural Products with a team including Dori Brewer (Picture) Martha Sandoval, Tom Cristy, Bryan Smith, Jon Daryanani, Louise Adamson, Marc Bruner, Andrew Perez, Matt Souza, Trevor Lovell and Chris Wieman.

Involved fees earner: Dori Brewer – Perkins Coie; Martha Sandoval – Perkins Coie; Andrew Perez – Perkins Coie; Matthew Souza – Perkins Coie; Trevor Lovell – Perkins Coie; Thomas Cristy – Perkins Coie; Jon Daryanani – Perkins Coie; Bryan Smith – Perkins Coie; Christopher Wieman – Perkins Coie; Louise Adamson – Perkins Coie; Marc Bruner – Perkins Coie;

Law Firms: Perkins Coie;

Clients: California Natural Foods LLC.;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti