Charterhouse Group sells health company for $200m

The New York-based firm acquired Amerifit Brands in 2005 in a deal valued at $80m. Charterhouse Group has exited three of 11 portfolio companies in its fourth fund, which is 90% invested.

Charterhouse Group, a New York-based mid-market firm, has agreed to sell consumer health company Amerifit Brands to Martek Biosciences in a transaction valued at $200 million. The deal is expected to close in 30 days.

The firm, which is investing from its $450 million fourth fund, invested in Amerifit in 2005 in a deal valued at $80 million. The firm declined to give an exit multiple on the deal, but partner David Hoffman said, “the key metric is, with the key brands we bought, we more than doubled sales and more than tripled profitability during our ownership”.

Charterhouse made the investment from its fourth fund, which is about 90 percent invested, Hoffman said. The firm has exited three investments from the fund and returned “the majority” of capital to investors, he said. Charterhouse has eight portfolio companies left in the portfolio that it continues to grow.

Charterhouse declined to comment on fundraising. One source told PEO the firm will begin to raise its fifth fund this year.

Beginning in 1973, Charterhouse has been investing in mid-market buyouts or growth. Charterhouse looks to build companies around what it calls “Charterhouse entrepreneurs”, or executives that specialise in specific areas.

Through its network of executives, the firm sees a lot of deal opportunities this year, though “the quality is mixed”, Hoffman said. “We are very optimistic about being able to put a fair amount of money to work in 2010,” he said.

Charterhouse made one platform investment in 2009, leading a consortium of investors in making a $47 million contribution in Newpath Networks, a wireless infrastructure company. Charterhouse used $20 million of equity in the deal.

The firm’s managing partner is Thomas Dircks, who joined the firm in 1983.