The Company

Cains Pickles, Inc.

A $50 million per year pickle manufacturer in Massachusetts with the number one retail brand in New England and a foodservice business. Acquired two years earlier by Gedney Pickles out of Minnesota, the business was losing money rapidly and was threatening to take Gedney down with it.

The Challenge

Gedney announced a plant closing scheduled for 60 days out.  However, it hoped to preserve the Cains retail brand and move it to Minnesota.  Conducting a liquidation would leave them significantly short of their secured debt, and with a ten-year lease obligation on a brand new distribution facility. Without the employees, who were sure to start looking for jobs, the business was worthless.  Furthermore, it was time for the farmers to plant the cucumbers that supplied the plant, but they didn’t want to make that huge investment for fear that the manufacturing plant would not be open to purchase the cucumbers.

The Process

Equity Partners was retained and immediately met with two key groups, the cucumber growers, and the plant’s employees.  Both groups were asked to have faith that the plant would in fact stay open. Within two weeks, Equity Partners generated two offers to keep the plant open. With offers and deposits in hand, Equity Partners was able to get the growers to plant their cucumber seeds, and convince employees that the plant would stay open. Equity Partners encouraged the growers to take control of their destiny by acquiring the plant.

The Solution

After several rounds of negotiations with bidders, economic development groups, landlords, and creditors, a transaction closed.  The growers, along with a past Cains President, acquired the manufacturing business, plant and foodservice business, and retained all employees.  Gedney was able to retain the Cains retail pickle business and moved that production to Minnesota.