Dessert Holdings brings North American peer into its growing flock

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Steven Charles said culinary innovation is baked into the heart of everything it creates. Pic: Steven Charles
Steven Charles said culinary innovation is baked into the heart of everything it creates. Pic: Steven Charles

Related tags Dessert Holdings Steven Charles clean label Desserts Bain Capital Private Equity

The St. Paul, Minnesota company has added Steven Charles – A Dessert Company to its portfolio of companies, which includes The Original Cakerie, Lawler’s Desserts and Atlanta Cheesecake Company.

The North American dessert manufacturer will use the acquisition to help Steven Charles reach its full potential, while boosting its own production scale up for its blue-chip customer base spread across the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America and Asia.

Steven Charles has built a reputation for crafting imaginative signature desserts from premium clean ingredients for the retail and hospitality channels. The Aurora, Colorado-based company was founded by Steven Fabos in 1995 and joined by Charles Kosmont almost a decade later.

“I have loved the creativity and working with the team that brings joy and fun to so many,”​ said Kosmont.

“We want to thank our integral partners who helped make this happen, especially our staff, who helped to build this company to what it is today. We look forward to seeing the continued growth and success of the company and know the future will be even more incredible,” ​added Fabos.

Expanding footprint

“As the leading premium desserts platform in North America, we are investing behind category-defining dessert manufacturers like Steven Charles to help them reach their full potential,”​ said Paul Lapadat, CEO of Dessert Holdings.

“Steven Charles has a heritage of creating and commercialising award-winning desserts and that commitment to excellence in innovation and service has fostered long-standing relationships with a number of the leading foodservice and retail operators in North America. We see an incredible opportunity to supplement these strengths to support Steven Charles’ domestic growth while also investing to expand the business globally.”

Steven Charles will continue to be operated by its current management team, led by president Rebecca O’Hara.

“Steven and Charles are proud and excited to hand the company over to the capable hands of Dessert Holdings, who will continue to value what makes Steven Charles so special as we are aligned on a strategy that preserves our commitment to culinary innovation and extraordinary service for our discerning customers,”​ said O’Hara.

“Dessert Holdings has a complementary product portfolio to ours and brings capital and expertise that will help us accelerate our growth journey.”

Perfect fit

Bain Capital Private Equity acquired Dessert Holdings in June 2021 with a goal to support its growth acceleration through organic expansion and select acquisition opportunities. The company has made primary or add-on investments in more than 1,000 companies since its inception in 1964, managing approximately $150bn to capture opportunities in strategic areas of focus, including private equity, credit, venture capital, real estate and insurance.

“With our investment in Dessert Holdings, we have the privilege of backing Paul and his team as they build the leading premium dessert manufacturing company in North America, and the acquisition of Steven Charles is a perfect fit for that vision,”​ said Adam Nebesar, an MD at Bain Capital Private Equity.

“We look forward to partnering with Rebecca and the Steven Charles team to support their growth ambitions.”

Financing for the transaction was led by Antares Capital and Barclays. Barclays also served as financial advisor to Dessert Holdings, with PwC as accounting advisor and Ropes & Gray LLP as legal advisor. Houlihan Lokey served as Steven Charles’ financial advisor and Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP as legal advisor.

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