Special New Fruit Licensing (SNFL) has announced that it is to acquire its rival International Fruit Genetics (IFG), forming a combined company that brings together two of the world's biggest table grape breeders.
SNFL was led in the deal by parent company AM FRESH Group with significant minority investment from EQT Future Fund and continued investment from Paine Schwartz Partners.
AM FRESH Group, which will be the controlling shareholder of the combined entity, says the move will accelerate varietal breeding, development and commercialization, benefiting licensed growers, partners and consumers with more sustainable alternatives and improved varietal options.
IFG CEO Andy Higgins and says the transaction represents "an advancement for the entire industry".
He also notes that the agreement is entering into a review process which may take 12 to 18 months to conclude, and during which time there will be no change to IFG's operations.
Josep Estiarte, Managing Director of SNFL Group, said: “By combining two breeding teams with profound and very diverse experience in different fields of plant genetics we will seek to propel varieties which will be a better fit for the future and will fast-track the development of more sustainable and healthier varieties aligned with the market trends.
“In addition, the integration of two different pools of talent developed over more than 15 years enables the implementation of best practices into the plant varietal development process."
The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Financials terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Higgins added: “Since our establishment, IFG’s mission, our challenge and our inspiration has been to grow our fruit categories, and this merger is another example of this. SNFL and IFG have complementary gene pools and breeding teams focused on different development pathways.
"While much of IFG’s focus has been on consumer traits and flavor, SNFL’s focus has been centered on health benefits, diseases tolerance and other important grower traits.
"Together, AM FRESH Group, SNFL and IFG will provide more variety choices to consumers, more industry solutions for growers, and an accelerated pace of innovation for the fruit breeding industry. This acquisition will bring forward the best that our companies have to offer as we build a dynamic foundation for the future.”
Alvaro Muñoz, AM FRESH Group CEO, said: “We are committed to delivering fresh, natural and healthy goods to excite consumers and we strive to create the next frontier of sustainable fresh foods for the benefit of all.
“Together with IFG, we will spearhead varietal innovation and deliver a comprehensive portfolio of innovative varieties which are nature and health positive benefiting growers, our retail partners and consumers.
"Through our combined R&D, innovation, agritech capabilities and high-quality standards, we are able to offer fresh propositions to our partners and together propel the table grape industry to the next level.”