ForteCEO Assists Ann's House of Nuts in Sale to Private Equity Firm

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20-month ForteCEO consulting engagement culminates in successful exit for family-owned business that built a leadership position in the snack foods industry. ForteCEO is unique in the consulting business in that all of its consultants are former CEOs or senior executives with a long track record of business success.

ForteCEO Group is based in Northbrook, IL

Olympus Partners enters the transaction with a vision of contributing new ideas and resources to further Ann's tradition of providing quality products, innovative snacking ideas and a commitment to customer service

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ForteCEO, a senior level consulting firm, today announced that private equity firm Olympus Partners has acquired a majority interest in one of its client businesses, Ann's House of Nuts ("Ann's"). Ann's is a $250 million global leader in trail mixes and other snacks domestically and internationally.

ForteCEO worked extensively with Ann's owners and senior management for 20 months leading up to the sale. The firm worked alongside the Ann's team to restructure the organization and significantly improve operations. This resulted in a major increase to the company's valuation and enabled the firm to be marketed successfully to many potential domestic and international acquirers. Ann's was sold to Olympus Partners after ForteCEO and Ann's owners completed in-depth management presentations and an active bidding process with Lincoln International, the company's investment bank.

ForteCEO lead consultant George Lampros will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer of Ann's, effectively ending his tenure as a highly-regarded member of ForteCEO's consulting group. ForteCEO is unique in the consulting business in that all of its consultants are former CEOs or senior executives with a long track record of business success.

"My management team and I are very enthusiastic about the growth opportunities at Ann's House of Nuts. We look forward to working with the company's founders and Olympus Partners to achieve the next chapter of significant top and bottom line growth," said Lampros. "I am pleased that our team of ForteCEO consultants, the existing management team and our investment banking partners were successful in creating a very favorable outcome for the Company and its shareholders."

After completing a 360 degree performance improvement initiative, ForteCEO then worked closely with professionals from Lincoln International, a global investment bank specializing in middle-market transactions. To identify the right buyer ForteCEO's consultants and general partners led multiple management presentations to strategic and equity buyers. The final transaction was contingent on ForteCEO's consultants becoming Ann's management team.

"ForteCEO is a professional and highly competent partner that helped me achieve my goals as a business owner," said Ed Zinke, Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Ann's. "ForteCEO's consultants provided us with strategic guidance and implementation expertise that was invaluable to bringing the company to a sale. Our 20 -month partnership was very rewarding personally and professionally."

"Olympus Partners enters the transaction with a vision of contributing new ideas and resources to further Ann's tradition of providing quality products, innovative snacking ideas and a commitment to customer service," said Manu Bettegowda, Partner of Olympus Partners. "ForteCEO's operational improvements, the talents of their team members, and their ability to outline a pathway to future improvements were critical in our decision to fund this transaction. With the ForteCEO consultants, led by George Lampros, now running Ann's, and the ongoing involvement of the Zinke family, we look forward to build upon Ann's strong reputation for excellence in the snack foods industry."

Ann's also was represented by the Corporate & Securities group at Reed Smith LLP, a global law firm and leading advisor to many of the world's foremost companies. The transaction team was based in Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The Zinke family will continue to be involved and maintain an ownership stake in the business.

About Ann's House of Nuts
Founded in 1973, Ann's is the largest privately held provider of trail mixes and snack nuts in the world. With a specialization in private label healthy snack foods, Ann's formulates, imports and processes an array of trail mixes, snack nuts, dried fruits and other products for global distribution. In most cases, the company is either the exclusive supplier or a primary private label supplier in its categories to blue-chip customers in the mass merchandise, supercenter, wholesale club, grocery and other retail channels. Ann's is based in Jessup, MD and has a large production facility in Robersonville, NC.

About ForteCEO
ForteCEO ("ForteCEO") is a leading senior executive consulting firm for middle-market businesses in the United States. Headquartered in Northbrook, IL, the firm entrenches senior executives in strategic advisor, general management, financial and operational implementation roles in middle-market businesses to help capture opportunities, improve operations, maximize profitability, fill voids created by departing staff, prepare for an exit, resolve crises and much more. Each of ForteCEO's interim executives has more than 20 years of hands-on operating and leadership experience. ForteCEO works with executives throughout a variety of industry and functional areas of expertise. The firm's executives are more than "consultants"; they work alongside business owners and their management teams to implement meaningful change that significantly improves revenues and profits for the long term. More information about ForteCEO can be obtained at

About Olympus Partners
Olympus Partners ("Olympus") is a private equity firm that provides equity capital to privately held, middle-market business services, logistics, healthcare, financial services, consumer products and information technology companies. Founded in 1988, Olympus manages over $3.1 billion on behalf of corporate pension plans, public retirement systems, university endowment funds, and the executives of Olympus' portfolio companies. The firm's latest fund, Olympus Growth Fund V, has committed capital of $1.5 billion. Olympus focuses on a value-added approach with its portfolio companies and a true partnership with its management teams. More information about Olympus can be obtained at

About Lincoln International
Lincoln International specializes in merger and acquisition services, private capital raising, and providing fairness opinions and valuations for leading organizations involved in middle-market transactions. With offices in Chicago, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, New York, Paris and Vienna, and strategic partnerships with China Everbright and other partner firms in Asia, Lincoln International has strong local knowledge and contacts in the key global economies. The organization provides clients with senior-level attention, in-depth industry expertise, and integrated resources. By being focused and independent, Lincoln International serves its clients without conflicts of interest. More information about Lincoln International can be obtained at

About Reed Smith
Reed Smith is a top-15 global relationship law firm with more than 1,600 lawyers in 23 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Founded in 1877, the firm represents leading international businesses from Fortune 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises. Its corporate attorneys provide representation to both issuers and investors with respect to all types of equity and debt securities transactions made at all stages of a company's development cycle.


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