Ripplewood backs Japanese multilevel spinout

Ripplewood Holdings is backing the spinout of Shaklee, a California-based multilevel marketer of nutrition and filtration products, from Tokyo-based Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical, for approximately $310m.

Ripplewood Holdings, the New York- and Tokyo-based private equity firm, today announced an investment in Shaklee, a maker of nutritional, personal care, air and water filtration products, in a spinout from Tokyo-based Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical valued at $310 million.

Joining Ripplewood in the deal is New York-based Activated Holdings, the family office managed by Roger Barnett, who will move to San Francisco to become Shaklee’s new chief executive officer.

Shaklee sells its products through a network of 700,000 ‘members.’ The company was founded in 1956 and currently has a customer and distributor base in Japan, the US, Mexico, Malaysia and Canada.

Activated Holdings has more than $2 billion in assets.

Multilevel marketing companies are drawing interest from private equity firms. In 2002, Golden Gate Capital and Whitney & Co. privatized of Herbalife, a weight management and nutritional supplement company, for $685 million.