July 18, 2016

Dessert Holdings Acquires Lawler’s Cheesecake Company


Gryphon Investors’ to Acquire Lawler Foods

Expands its Premium Dessert Platform to Include The Original Cakerie and Lawler Foods  

San Francisco, California, July 18, 2016 – Gryphon Investors, a middle market private equity firm based in San Francisco, today announced that it has agreed to acquire Lawler Foods, a manufacturer of gourmet cheesecakes, layer cakes, pies and other desserts for retail and foodservice customers across North America. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of July.

Lawler Foods will be part of the same premium dessert platform as The Original Cakerie, which Gryphon acquired in December 2015. The Original Cakerie is a leading manufacturer of high-quality frozen desserts for retail and foodservice customers across North America.

Based near Houston, Texas, Lawler Foods is a family-owned business that has steadily grown over its 40-year history by producing the highest quality cheesecakes and other desserts for retail and foodservice customers. The Lawler family will retain a significant investment in the company, and the Lawler Foods management team will remain in place under the new ownership. Vice President of Sales Wes Stasny will be promoted to President as part of the transition.

Keith Stimson, Partner at Gryphon, said, “The acquisition represents an outstanding strategic fit for Gryphon’s premium dessert platform. Lawler Foods’ long-term focus on producing best-in-class quality products is consistent with The Original Cakerie’s own commitment to quality. With little overlap in product offerings and customers between the two businesses, we are confident that the two companies will help expand our customer relationships with leading North American retailers and foodservice accounts.”

“Lawler Foods is a perfect complement to The Original Cakerie on many levels, expanding both product offerings and the geographic footprint,” said Matt Farron, Gryphon Principal. Gryphon Operating Partner Dennis O’Brien added, “With both Lawler Foods and The Original Cakerie as cornerstones, we look forward to building the dominant premium dessert manufacturer for the retail and foodservice industry across North America.”

“While our family business has grown successfully for more than 40 years, joining Gryphon’s premium dessert platform will enable our company to achieve a new level of success,” said Mike Lawler, a member of the founding Lawler family. “We value the ability of the Gryphon operations team to help accelerate our expansion.”

Gryphon and The Original Cakerie were advised on the transaction by Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  Lawler Foods was advised by Lazard Middle Market and Winstead PC.

About Lawler Foods

Lawler Foods is a manufacturer of gourmet cheesecakes, cakes and pies that are used in restaurants, hotels and other fine foodservice establishments around the world. Lawler Foods’ business has been built on the solid foundation of “home-made” taste and quality, using the finest natural ingredients to bake creamy cheesecakes, moist layer cakes, and grandmother-quality pies. The company operates out of Humble, Texas. Customers include national restaurant chains, wholesale clubs, and retail outlets in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

About The Original Cakerie

The Original Cakerie, based in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, was established in 1979 as a small industrial bakery producing high-quality desserts for local restaurants in Victoria, B.C., Canada. Today the company is a leading manufacturer of high-quality frozen desserts for retail and foodservice customers across North America.

About Gryphon Investors

Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors is a leading private equity firm focused on profitably growing and competitively enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. With approximately $2 billion of cumulative equity commitments, the firm has an extensive track record of leading equity investments of $35 million to $150 million per portfolio company with sales ranging from approximately $50 million to $500 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form proactive partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, specialized professional resources, and operational expertise.