Top Criteria a Corporate Acquirer Looks for in an F&B Company

About the Episode

When it comes time to sell your business, it helps to know what an acquiring company is interested in. Ben Cosgrove shares his experiences as a serial acquirer with insights that apply to any F&B company. This deep discussion goes into the criteria that his company considers when looking at making an acquisition, the importance of the product and other factors, stories on why they have made certain acquisitions, the factors that go into the attractiveness of a company being considered, and valuation methods.

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“I think having that passion to grow your business and achieve your mission is the single hardest thing for a large enterprise to replicate. There’s nothing I can do to replace the passion and the drive that I see out of almost every single entrepreneur I have talked to. Do everything you can to instill (your passion) into the culture and the people of your organization and give them that same level of commitment and passion for your business. That will be your enduring legacy … Keep that fire burning bright. That’s really what makes successful brands.”

Ben Cosgrove

In this Episode

2:01 How did Ben Cosgrove get into the food & beverage industry? How much carryover is there from chemical engineering to food and beverage?
4:53 What is a corporate venture?
9:27 What advice would you give to a founder who is facing the decision between a corporate venture and selling out completely?
13:22 What are the biggest factors that can lead to a company being profitable? How do co-packers factor into this strategy?
17:16 What is the shelf life for different products in the bakery sector? How does this impact transportation guidelines?
19:45 How is a bakery defined, and how fragmented is the industry?
22:12 What are the criteria that Grupo Bimbo looks for in an acquisition?
28:43 What are some reasons that Grupo Bimbo might not be interested in pursuing a company that has approached them to be acquired?
49:03 What are the criteria an acquiring company looks for when considering a product?
Criteria #1: Taste
Criteria #2: Usage and demand
Criteria #3: Shelf life
Criteria #4: Scalability
Criteria #5: Product differentiation
Other than product, what other criteria are most important when considering acquiring a company?
54:49 What risk is involved if a founder doesn’t plan on staying on after an acquisition?
56:10 Why is distribution not important as a value-add when considering a new company?
58:12 How are companies in the bakery industry valued? Is it based on a multiple of EBITDA? What are the most common valuation methods?
1:01:46 What is some advice for owners of bakeries or food and beverage companies?

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Resources Mentioned

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Meet Our Guest

Ben Cosgrove

Ben Cosgrove

Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Development at Bimbo Bakeries USA

Ben Cosgrove is the Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Development at Bimbo Bakeries USA, with a diverse background in M&A, venture capital, and corporate strategy. Under Ben’s leadership, Bimbo Bakeries has made a number of strategic acquisitions, and he played a pivotal role in launching the U.S. Venture Capital team.

Prior to his tenure at Bimbo Bakeries, Ben held leadership roles at Republic Services, where he served as the Director of Business Development, driving acquisitions and divestitures. Ben’s career also includes experience at global companies such as Firmenich, Dow Chemical, and The Rohm and Haas Company.

Ben holds an MBA in Finance from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, complementing his BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware.

Location Location: Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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