Much of the recent M&A activity in the supplement industry has involved private equity firms acquiring supplement brands, ingredient suppliers and service providers and assembling them into ‘portfolios.’ The most recent such deal is the acquisition by private equity Warburg Pincus of Food Safety Net Services, a sign of the increasing trend toward consolidation in the supply of laboratory services to the industry.
Two supplement companies are bucking that trend and are seeking to go public as independent entities.
The most recent IPO (initial public offering) news comes form longtime practitioner channel specialist Thorne Research, now called Thorne Healthtech. The company announced publicly on Friday that it had filed in April with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO that was originally pegged to raise as much as $100 million. The target was later revised to $100 million.
Branching out from practitioner base
Thorne, founded more than 30 years ago in Sandpoint, ID, was one of the early practitioner channel specialists, marketing its line of dietary supplements through a network of health care providers. The company started branching out from that model almost a decade ago, with the launch of a line of sports nutrition products under the name Thorne Performance.
Thorne expanded further and eventually outgrew its Idaho location. The company moved to a new, dedicated manufacturing facility in South Carolina in 2018.
Over the years Thorne has received investments from Japanese firms Mitsui and Kirin that replaced private equity investments from private equity firms WestView Capital Partners and Tudor Ventures (now operating as Spring Lake Equity Partners). Major shareholders as of the time of that deal were the Thorne management team, the Japanese firms, and Swiss pharmaceutical company Helsinn.
Along the way Thorne expanded into personalized health care in the form of at home tests. The company markets tests under its Onegevity brand for vitamin D levels, heart health, weight management, testosterone, menopause, fertility, thyroid function, sleep quality and heavy metals.
Private equity spinoff
The other IPO is more of a piece with the private equity involvement in the industry, in that it is a spin out from an earlier private equity deal. The Better Being Company, which will be the new name of Nutrition Topco which does business as Nutraceutical International, also filed confidentially in April for an IPO that is also aimed to raise $100.
The company, which will trade on the New York Stock Exchange, will use the trading symbol BBCO. Nutraceutical had been listed on NYSE until May 2017, when the company was acquired by private equity firm HGGC for $446 million including debt.
The vertically integrated company manufactures and sells nutritional vitamins and supplements, beauty products, and other natural products under numerous brands, including Solaray, KAL, Zhou Nutrition, Nu U, Heritage Store, Zand, and Life Flo. The company sells both online and through natural and specialty retailers.