Warburg Pincus and Tilia Holdings Announce Investment in Food Safety Net Services Jul 8, 2021
Investment and merger with Certified Group creates a leading, national testing platform
NEW YORK, NY – July 8, 2021– Warburg Pincus, a leading global growth investor, today announced an investment in Food Safety Net Services (“FSNS”), a leading provider of laboratory testing services for customers in the food & beverage end-markets. The company serves a broad range of product categories within the broader food & beverage sector (e.g., meat, dairy, produce, dietary supplements, pet food, nutraceuticals, restaurant, ready-to-eat). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
As part of the investment, FSNS will merge with Certified Group, a leading North American platform provider of testing and regulatory consulting services. Certified Group provides mission critical and time sensitive testing and regulatory consulting services to the food & beverage, supplements & botanicals, cosmetics & personal care, nicotine & cannabis, and other regulated end markets. Warburg Pincus and Tilia Holdings (“Tilia”), a Chicago-based private investment firm focused exclusively on the food and nutrition supply chain, first invested in Certified Group in 2018. The merger is expected to close in the third quarter.
The merger will create a leading, national testing platform. Together, Certified Group and FSNS represent a highly differentiated testing services provider in North America. The merger will bring Certified Group’s employee base to ~1,580 total employees, across 20 states and provinces in over 30 laboratories in North America. At the close of the transaction, John Bellinger, CEO of FSNS, will assume the role of CEO across all respective companies. Steven Mitchell, CEO of Certified Group, will become Vice Chairman of the combined company and Board member.
“The investment from Warburg Pincus reflects the current success of our company and underscores our top-tier position as a leading North American platform provider of testing and regulatory consulting services. The combined businesses position our company with the broadest footprint and most diversified service offering in the industry,” said John Bellinger, CEO of FSNS. “We are excited to work with Warburg Pincus, Tilia and the Certified team to grow the combined companies further.”
Warburg Pincus is a leading investor in food safety and food supply chain services, with current and historical investments in Certified Laboratories, Hygiena, GA Foods, SPINS, Aramark, Grubhub/Seamless, Duravant, and Trimark.
"I am excited by the opportunities the combined companies will achieve as our platform strengthens and grows," said Steven Mitchell, CEO, Certified Laboratories Group. “I look forward to working with John and the team as we continue to deliver on the sophisticated needs of our clients.”
“The investment in FSNS reflects our ongoing mission to invest in companies that help make the food supply chain safer for customers and address the growing market opportunity. FSNS’ strength in microbiology testing paired with Certified Group’s strong position in chemistry testing are highly complementary, providing meaningful cross-sell potential to clients,” said Stephanie Geveda, Managing Director, Head of Business Services, Warburg Pincus.
“Warburg Pincus shares our vision of improving the global food and nutrition supply chain through innovative companies, backed by strong management teams. The merger of FSNS and Certified Group will strengthen and grow their respective service offerings, capabilities and footprint, enabling the combined company to reach a wider range of customers,” said Johannes Burlin, Co-CEO, Tilia.
About Warburg Pincus
Warburg Pincus LLC is a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing. The firm has more than $60 billion in private equity assets under management. The firm’s active portfolio of more than 200 companies is highly diversified by stage, sector, and geography. Warburg Pincus is an experienced partner to management teams seeking to build durable companies with sustainable value. Founded in 1966, Warburg Pincus has raised 19 private equity funds, which have invested more than $90 billion in over 930 companies in more than 40 countries. The firm is headquartered in New York with offices in Amsterdam, Beijing, Berlin, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Mauritius, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Singapore. For more information please visit www.warburgpincus.com.
About Tilia Holdings
Tilia is a Chicago-based private investment firm focused exclusively on building distinctive middle- market companies that provide outsourced, technical services across the global food and nutrition supply chain. Through an interdisciplinary approach to investing, Tilia partners with companies providing technical business services that support leading and emerging CPG brands. Tilia’s investment team has complementary skills across operations and finance and provides expertise in scaling and growing middle-market companies. Tilia’s deep sector focused strategy is a successful approach to investments that spans almost three decades and approaches each investment as a steward by employing a consistent set of principles to improve capital across four dimensions: brand, human, social and financial. For more information, please visit www.tiliallc.com.
Food Safety Net Services (FSNS), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a national network of ISO 17025 accredited testing laboratories open 24/7, 365 days a year. FSNS provides expert technical resources that assist companies with implementing food safety and quality programs that deliver critical information needed to continually improve process controls. Additional services include GFSI, SQF and PAACO approved auditing and certification capabilities. For more information, visit www.FSNS.com.
About Certified Group
Certified Group is a leading North American provider of testing and regulatory consulting services with laboratories located in New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Ontario, and Alberta. The Certified Group of companies includes Certified Laboratories, EAS Consulting, Labstat, LabSmart, ABC Testing, Microconsult Inc, and MicroQuality Laboratories. The Certified Group provides total testing and regulatory guidance solutions in the Food, Supplement & Botanical, Cosmetic, Personal Care, Cannabis, Nicotine, and Vaping industries.
Sarah McGrath Bloom