UK: Novax acquires ingredients company Ulrick & Short

London-based Oghma Partners has acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the Swedish investment firm
Photo as seen on Ulrick & Short’s website

Novax AB, the investment company of the Stockholm-based, €8 billion Axel Johnson Group, has acquired Ulrick & Short, a clean label ingredients and formulations company based in West Yorkshire, England. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Oghma Partners, the corporate finance house to the consumer industries, served as the exclusive financial advisors to Novax.

Ulrick & Short will continue to operate as a standalone business, with the company’s founders Adrian Short and Andrew Ulrick staying on as minority shareholders and existing management team remaining in place.

Short said: “It is clear we have an organisation and group of people that share our values and beliefs. With Novax behind U&S, the company has a great chance of reaching its full potential. The next stage of the journey is going to be an exciting one.”

After 21 years, co-founder Andrew Ulrick will retire from his operational role and continue to support and be available to the business as a strategic advisor.

Ulrick said: “I believe that in Novax we have found a partner with a compatible culture who will provide significant support in the future direction of Ulrick & Short.”

Novax invests in small and medium-sized growth companies, and its investment thesis focuses on health and wellness, food of the future, digital infrastructure for retail, and technical security.

Ulrick & Short is highly specialised in clean label and plant-based, natural ingredients and is well-positioned to capture the long-term trends of consumers and food manufacturers shifting towards healthier and more sustainable food alternatives.

The company operates as a co-development partner to food manufacturers looking to develop new clean label products or to refine existing product ranges into healthier alternatives.

Pär Warnström, senior investment manager and food sector manager at Novax, said: “We are proud to partner up with Adrian, Andrew and the whole team at Ulrick & Short for this next chapter of their journey.

“As a long-term thematic investor, we are pleased to offer our enduring commitment to together with the team build and expand Ulrick & Short. The company illustrates much of what we believe are the hallmarks of an exceptional business in a promising market.”

Financial advisor

The deal is the latest in Oghma’s expanding list of successful cross-border transactions in the ingredients sector. The London-based financial advisory firm assisted the shareholders of SymplyCook in the sale of the business to Nestlé, which the company announced in February.

Oghma has also played a part in recent ingredient deals, including advising Solina Group on the acquisition of UK-based Bowman Ingredients, and Givaudan on the divestment of both its pectin business to Herbstreith & Fox and of its processed and grated cheese business.

Warnström commented: “We are both happy and thankful for Oghma’s expert advice and support from start to finish throughout this process. At Novax, we remain determined to continue our engagement within the food value chain, and look forward to working with Mark, Carolyn, Oliver and the team again in the future.”

Mark Lynch, partner at Oghma Partners, said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with Novax on this ingredients acquisition which further strengthens our industry-leading track record in this important and exciting sub-sector of the food space. This transaction marks the completion of our sixth deal in the last twelve months.’’