231-922-9460 | Google +

Friday, March 20, 2015


Original Story: freep.com

A publicly traded specialty foods maker has acquired a Saline-based manufacturer of a popular line of wraps and flatbreads for $92 million.

Columbus, Ohio-based Lancaster Colony Corp.'s subsidiary T. Marzetti Co. purchased Flatout Holdings Inc., which is based about 10 minutes south of Ann Arbor. A Detroit business lawyer assists clients in business acquisitions and business transactions.

Mike and Stacey Marsh, husband-and-wife entrepreneurs who founded and grew Flatout, are expected to continue running the flatbread maker's bustling operation in Saline.

Mike Marsh told the Free Press that T. Marzetti Co. is expected to maintain and expand Flatout's current operations.

"We found a home with a very good strategic company that's been in the food business since the 1990s," Marsh said. "They wouldn't have made the investment if they didn't think they could continue to grow it. I think the growth will just continue on."

Flatout reported $42 million in net sales in 2014. The company has about 150 employees at its factory in a Saline industrial park.

The company, one of Washtenaw County's most successful food start-ups, was partially sold in 2010 to private equity firm North Castle Partners and Glencoe Capital. An Ohio business lawyer provides professional legal counsel in many aspects of business law.

North Castle, which specializes in consumer health products, as well as Glencoe Capital and other private shareholders have sold the entire company for cash to Lancaster.

Mike and Stacey Marsh retained a 35% stake in Flatout following the 2010 transaction. They sold their stake in the new deal with Lancaster, Mike said.

"We are very excited to add Flatout flatbreads to our specialty foods business as a better-for-you branded retail product with extraordinary taste, nutritional advantages and convenient versatility for most every eating occasion," said Bruce Rosa, president of T. Marzetti Co., in a statement.

Flatout traces its beginnings to an Ann Arbor sandwich shop the Marshes founded in the 1990s. They developed their signature flatbread product at that shop, which they eventually sold, and later secured deals to sell their product to Wendy's, McDonald's in Canada and Northwest Airlines.

Positioned along freight rail lines, the company hauls in flour by the trainload and operates around the clock.

Mike Marsh said the company plans to add a gluten-free line of products and a new line of products with higher protein.

Lancaster's brands include Marzetti salad dressings and dips, New York frozen breads and Sister Schubert's homemade rolls.