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Shearer’s Foods Acquired by PE Firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice

Dec. 14, 2023
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board exits after more than a decade of ownership in the private label and contract snack manufacturer.

Contract and private label snack manufacturer Shearer’s Foods will be acquired by private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), according to a release sent by the firm. Shearer’s had been under control of majority shareholder Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (OTPP), which will exit its position in the company after more than a decade of ownership. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but an August 2023 Reuters report, which first broke that OTPP was exploring a sale of the snack processor, said the company could command more than $3 billion.

Shearer’s has carved out a significant position in the snack foods marketplace, supplying some of the largest and best-known retailers and consumer-branded companies with salty snacks, cookies and crackers. It is based in Massillon, Ohio, and led by executive chairman Bill Nictakis and CEO Mark McNeil.

Shearer’s was founded as a family-owned business in the early 1900s, and built its first snack manufacturing facility in 1979. In the early 2000s, the company’s growth trajectory as a snack processor really took off, and in 2012, Wind Point Partners purchased the company from the Shearer family. OTPP purchased Wind Point’s majority share in Shearer’s in 2015 after first investing in the company three years prior.

Today, after numerous acquisitions and expansions, Shearer’s boasts 17 processing plants in Ohio, Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Virginia and Iowa in the U.S., and in Ontario and Alberta, Canada.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.