MONTREAL, July 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Van Houtte Inc. ("Van Houtte" or the
"Company") (TSX: VH) today announced that the Minister of Industry of Canada
has approved the transaction described in the plan of arrangement announced on
May 7, 2007 and approved by its shareholders on July 9, 2007, involving the
acquisition by LJVH Holdings Inc., a company indirectly controlled by
Littlejohn & Co, LLC ("Littlejohn"), of all the outstanding shares of Van
Houtte for $25.00 per share. The sale of all of the Van Houtte shares to
Littlejohn closed today.
The Van Houtte Subordinate Voting Shares will be delisted from the
Toronto Stock Exchange shortly. The purchaser has delivered to the depositary
sufficient funds to enable the depositary to make the payments described in
the plan of arrangement. In accordance with the plan, payments will be
effected to shareholders no later than three business days following the date
hereof. Shareholders who hold Van Houtte Subordinate Voting Shares through an
intermediary should contact the latter for details on receipt of payment for
Littlejohn's President, Michael I. Klein, said he was "delighted with the
Minister's approval," which he noted is consistent with Littlejohn's "belief
that the acquisition of Van Houtte will prove to be of benefit to both
Littlejohn and Van Houtte as well as the City of Montreal and Canada as a
whole as the Company implements its growth strategy." "In Littlejohn,"
Mr. Klein added, "Van Houtte will have new ownership committed to investing in
the Company to support its growth and expansion plans."
Following the transaction, Van Houtte will continue to be headquartered
in Montreal under the Van Houtte name and the leadership of its existing
management team. In particular, Jean-Yves Monette, Gérard Geoffrion and
David Larimer will remain as Van Houtte's CEO, Executive Vice-President and
President and Chief Operating Officer of Van Houtte USA and Filterfresh,
respectively. No significant changes in staffing levels, strategic
orientations or operations are expected as a result of the transaction.
Mr. Monette, who will continue as CEO of Van Houtte, also welcomed the
news. According to Mr. Monette, "Littlejohn's acquisition of Van Houtte will
enable us to manage new growth opportunities. I am confident that this is a
win-win situation for all Van Houtte stakeholders."
In order to obtain the Minister's approval under the Investment Canada
Act, Littlejohn has provided to the Minister a number of important commitments
in respect of Van Houtte's management, operations, growth, employees as well
as in respect of capital expenditures to increase productivity and capacity at
Van Houtte's Montreal-based roasting plants.
Littlejohn is the lead investor among a group of co-investors that
includes, among others, the Fonds de Solidarité FTQ.
About Van Houtte
Founded in 1919, Van Houtte is one of North America's leading gourmet
coffee roasters, marketers and distributors. The Company roasts and markets
its gourmet coffees across Canada and the U.S. through distribution channels
that include coffee services, retail stores, café-bistros and online shopping.
Van Houtte employs more than 1,900 employees in Canada and the United States.
Founded in 1996, Littlejohn & Co., LLC is a Greenwich, Connecticut-based
control-oriented private equity firm seeking investment opportunities in the
middle market sector that are undergoing a fundamental change in capital
structure, strategy, operations or growth that can benefit from its
operational and strategic approach. The firm's professionals manage three
funds with committed capital of approximately $1.6 billion. The firm is
currently investing from Littlejohn Fund III, L.P. which has US$850 million in
For further information: Jean-Yves Monette, President and Chief
Executive Officer; Gérard Geoffrion, Executive Vice-President, Van Houtte
Inc., (514) 593-7711, www.vanhoutte.com