The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., Lake Success, N.Y., entered into a definitive agreement to sell all of its equity interest in Hain Pure Protein Corp., which includes the FreeBird and Empire Kosher businesses, to Aterian Investment Partners III, LP, New York, for $80 million.

"We are pleased to have entered into an agreement for the sale of our remaining Hain Pure Protein businesses," says Mark Schiller, president and CEO. "This divestiture is another step forward in simplifying our organization aligned with our transformational strategic plan, as we aggressively pursue margin-enhancing initiatives to fuel long-term sustainable growth and profitability. We expect the sale of Hain Pure Protein to also help improve our balance sheet, as we generate cash from the sale with which we plan to use in part to pay down debt. We believe these non-core brands will generate better results under the ownership of an organization that is focused on the protein category." 

Hain Pure Protein is comprised of the Empire Kosher, Kosher Valley and FreeBird poultry brands. Empire Kosher is a fresh kosher poultry provider, while FreeBird is a specialized, certified-organic and antibiotic-free chicken provider to the foodservice, retail and home-delivered meal channels.

"We look forward to an expeditious close with Hain Celestial, and are excited for the opportunity to collaborate with management as the company enters its next chapter,” says Brandon Bethea, co-founder and partner at Aterian. “We intend to facilitate management's efforts to invest in key growth initiatives across new products, additional geographic regions as well as enhanced production capabilities, and by doing so, support the company's well-earned reputation for outstanding product and customer service."

"This transaction is another great example of Aterian's ability to expediently execute on complex situations, and further complements Aterian's investments in industry leading enterprises where we can support strategic growth initiatives,” adds George Zahringer, principal at Aterian. “We are pleased to have worked with and provided solutions for the sellers throughout the process, and look forward to working closely with management to capitalize on the myriad opportunities ahead."