Riverside buys The Herbal Garden

The US private equity firm has continued its buying spree in 2008 despite the turmoil in global markets. The Herbal Garden, an Illinois-based supplier of organic produce, is the firm's 30th acquisition this year.

The Riverside Company has acquired organic produce supplier The Herbal Garden in an add-on investment for its fresh produce platform HerbThyme Farms. The terms of the investment were not disclosed.

The Herbal Garden is Riverside’s fourth investment in the sector following Greenline Foods in 2006, Green Glen Products in 2007 and HerbThyme Farms earlier this year.

The Illinois-based company specialises in “friendly growing methods” and organic produce. The Herbal Garden

Fresh Produce:
Add-on target

is the second largest supplier of freshly packaged herbs in the US and has a workforce of 132 people.

Platform company HerbThyme is headquartered in Compton, California and is the “largest year-round grower, shipper and marketer of conventional and certified organic fresh culinary herbs in the US,” according to its website.

Riverside’s investments now comprise more than 500 domestic acres of organic herb production.

Despite global market turmoil, Riverside has continued to buy this year, making The Herbal Garden its 30th investment in 2008. In March, the firm bought proxy solicitation company DF King for $180 million, and public relations company M:Communications and electromagnetic compatibility test manufacturer EM Test Group for undisclosed amounts. The firm completed more than 20 transactions before August.

Riverside targets companies at the smaller end of the mid-market with valuations of up to €150 million. Since its founding in 1988, the firm has invested in 206 transactions with a total enterprise value of €4.4 billion.