Apollo, Graham grab Berry Plastics

The transaction marks the third time in ten years the company has been bought by private equity firms.

Graham Partners, a middle-market private equity firm focusing on plastics, has partnered with Apollo Management to acquire Indiana-based Berry Plastics for $2.25 billion (€1.8 billion).

Apollo will own a majority in Berry Plastics’ common stock. The company, which manufactures and markets rigid plastic packaging products and container lids, announced in March it was putting itself up for sale. The company provides a variety of open top and closed top packaging to 12,000 customers ranging from large multinational corporations to small local businesses. The company said that in the fiscal year ending December 31, 2005, it had annual sales of $1.3 billion.

The sale marks the third time in ten years that the company has been bought by private equity firms. The company is currently owned by Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, with 63 percent, and J.P. Morgan Partners, with 29 percent. In 1996, First Atlantic Capital bought Berry for around $55 million and sold it in 2002.

The company said Ira Boots will remain president and CEO and the existing management team will remain in place.

Philidelphia-based Graham Partners is a middle market firm with $850 million under management. The firm focuses on industrial companies that participate in growing manufacturing niches, particularly plastics or other synthetic materials. Apollo is making the investment out of its sixth fund, Apollo Investment Fund VI, which has total committed capital of approximately $12 billion.