Nestle Waters Is Sold, and Dean Metropoulos Is Involved

Feb. 17, 2021
Metropoulos will become chairman and CEO as One Rock Capital closes $4.3 billion acquisition.

Serial chairman/CEO Dean Metropoulos' name popped up for the first time when Nestlé S.A. today (Feb. 17) formally announced the sale of its North American Waters business. As earlier reported, One Rock Capital Partners is the primary buyer but Metropoulos & Co. surprisingly is a partner in the $4.3 billion deal.

One Rock Capital said Dean Metropoulos will become the company’s chairman and interim CEO once the deal closes, expected in the spring. He just "retired" as chairman and earlier interim CEO of Hostess last Oct. 15. We wondered then what he would buy next.

The sale includes the following brands in the U.S. and Canada, which had sales of around CHF 3.4 billion (US$3.8 billion) in 2019: Poland Spring, Deer Park, Ozarka, Ice Mountain, Zephyrhills, Arrowhead, Pure Life and Splash. It also includes the U.S. direct-to-consumer and office beverage delivery service ReadyRefresh.

The business is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with approximately 7,000 employees in the U.S. and more than 230 in Canada plus 27 production facilities across North America.

The sale does not include Nestle's higher-value, mostly European brands Perrier, S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. The North American waters have been on the selling block since last year.

Metropoulos is a serial savior of faltering companies. He bought what essentially was Hostess from Interstate Bakeries' bankruptcy sale in 2012 and built it into a profitable (and ultimately public) billion-dollar company. He and his investment firms have bought, rebuilt and resold Pinnacle Foods, Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., International Home Foods, Pabst Brewing Co., Morningstar Group and Bumble Bee Tuna, among others.

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