Fairmount Partners Advises Duck Donuts in Sale to NewSpring

MECHANICSBURG, PA –  NewSpring (the “Firm”), a family of private equity strategies, today announced that NewSpring Franchise, the Firm’s newest strategy focused on investing in innovative franchise and multi-unit concepts, has completed the acquisition of Duck Donuts. Free Fenix, a Charlotte, NC-based hybrid investment company, partnered with NewSpring on the deal, providing a significant investment to further accelerate growth.

Duck Donuts is one of the nation’s fastest-growing donut franchise companies

Russ DiGilio, founder and original CEO of Duck Donuts, launched the now-iconic donut brand in 2007 in the town of Duck in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Since beginning to franchise in 2013, the Company today operates one international and 101 U.S. franchise locations across 21 states. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Duck Donuts has grown into a leading franchise company and built its reputation on serving warm, delicious, and made-to-order donuts, providing superior guest service in a family-friendly atmosphere, and supporting local communities.

Duck Donuts will use the proceeds from the transaction to accelerate growth

By partnering with NewSpring, Duck Donuts will be able to accelerate growth, increase brand awareness, and strengthen corporate and franchise culture. NewSpring will provide access to capital and additional resources to strengthen the Company’s existing infrastructure and locations.

“Duck Donuts could not be more excited to partner with the NewSpring team, who offer a wealth of knowledge and experience that will elevate our brand to the next level. The past 14 years have been an amazing journey and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the dedication, passion, and trust of our franchisees and corporate team members. I look forward to watching the brand continue to evolve and build on the success we have already achieved in such a short period.”— Russ DiGilio, Founder and former CEO of Duck Donuts

Duck Donuts is led by an innovative, growth-oriented leadership team

In conjunction with the deal, Duck Donuts founder Russ DiGilio, who remains a significant owner, has stepped down as CEO and named Betsy Hamm, formerly chief operating officer, to the role. Hamm will focus on building and protecting the franchise brand and providing best-in-class franchise support while driving company growth and profitability. She is responsible for strengthening company culture, ensuring operational efficiencies, and maximizing franchisee success. DiGilio will continue in his founder role and serve as an integral member of the Duck Donuts Board of Directors, alongside Satya Ponnuru and Patrick Sugrue.

“At NewSpring Franchise, we seek out multi-unit brands with a loyal customer base and a fast-growing geographic footprint. Duck Donuts perfectly fits that model. Duck Donuts is differentiated by its customer experience and CEO Betsy Hamm has done a tremendous job expanding the Company’s presence in communities across the country to position the Company for future growth into new markets. We are thrilled to partner with Betsy and her team to take Duck Donuts to the next level.”— Patrick Sugrue, NewSpring General Partner

This acquisition aligns with NewSpring Franchise’s mission of investing in innovative franchise and multi-unit concepts in large and growing markets

The acquisition of Duck Donuts is the second investment out of NewSpring Franchise, a newly-launched strategy led by NewSpring General Partners Satya Ponnuru and Patrick Sugrue, created to invest in capital-efficient, consumer-facing, multi-unit businesses with a strong customer value proposition, proven unit-level economics, and exceptional management teams in the lower-middle market. Having successfully partnered with over 170 businesses in this market segment for over 20 years, NewSpring’s team of operational experts and value-add approach is well-positioned to serve a wide range of growing companies to accelerate growth.

“As a leader in the made-to-order donut category with a strong business model that’s attractive to new franchisees, Duck Donuts has quickly expanded its geographic footprint and grown its number of locations. The Company’s customizable product and award-winning customer service continue to elevate and differentiate the Duck Donuts brand and we look forward to growing its presence across the U.S.”— Satya Ponnuru, NewSpring General Partner

Fairmount Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor to Duck Donuts on the transaction.

For more information, visit www.fairmountpartners.com.

Contact: Jonathan Smith

Fairmount Partners Advises Greenleaf Health in Sale to Validant

London, UK – Global Healthcare Opportunities, or GHO Capital Partners (GHO), the European specialist investor in healthcare, acknowledges the announcement from its portfolio company, Validant, regarding the acquisition of Greenleaf Health.

Validant, a leading global quality, compliance and regulatory consulting group (the Group), has acquired Greenleaf Health, Inc. (Greenleaf), a leading U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory consulting firm. Concurrent with the acquisition, Validant announced the appointment of Patrick Ronan, founder and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Greenleaf, as the new CEO of Validant.

Greenleaf Health provides strategic and technical guidance to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies researching, developing, and manufacturing innovative solutions to pressing global public health challenges. Greenleaf’s team of experts draw on a combined total of more than 300 years of FDA experience to deliver reliable, objective advice to FDA-regulated companies. Founded in 2007, Greenleaf is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Validant’s acquisition of Greenleaf is another important step in its international growth strategy, focused on combining best-in-class regulatory and quality providers, and accelerating their growth with further investment. The accelerated growth strategy is supported by GHO Capital, the European specialist investor in healthcare, having partnered with Validant since December 2018. Today’s announcement follows Validant’s December 2020 acquisition of Oriel STAT A MATRIX, a New Jersey-based global consultancy and training firm; November 2020 acquisition of IDEC, a leading regulatory consultancy in Japan; and the acquisition of DataRevive in 2019, a regulatory strategy and consultancy for global clients, based in Washington D.C.

Commenting on the announcement, The Partners at GHO Capital, said: “We are delighted to welcome the entire Greenleaf team to Validant. They bring a wealth of complementary experience and expertise to the Group and the combination is set to benefit the customers of both companies. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Brian Burns for his support and leadership in overseeing the rapid growth of Validant. We are excited to continue this trajectory under Patrick’s leadership and believe that his experience and passion will help consolidate our position as the leading global life science regulatory consultancy.”

Patrick Ronan brings more than 25 years of leadership experience to his role as CEO of Validant. Prior to founding Greenleaf in 2007, Patrick served as Vice President of Regulatory Policy & External Affairs at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, where he supervised U.S. regulatory policy issues and advised all therapeutic areas on FDA-related regulatory matters.  Patrick’s extensive experience includes leadership roles at the FDA where he served as Chief of Staff and Assistant Commissioner of Legislation; on Capitol Hill, where he served as a member of the Professional Staff to the Committee on Energy and Commerce; and the Washington, D.C.-based Biotechnology Innovation Organisation (BIO).

Patrick Ronan, newly appointed CEO of Validant, commented: “Greenleaf Health enhances the expertise and capabilities of Validant as we work to support clients and their evolving global regulatory needs. I am excited to serve in the role of CEO and bring our teams together as we create a platform for continued growth and success.”

Fairmount Partners provided investment banking and advisory services, and Goodwin Procter provided legal advice to Greenleaf Health, Inc.

OMM provided legal advice, RSM Global provided financial and accounting advice, and Deloitte provided tax advice to Validant.


About Fairmount Partners

Fairmount Partners (www.fairmountpartners.com) is an independent merger and acquisition advisory firm focused on emerging growth and middle-market companies. Fairmount helps its clients complete mergers and acquisitions; raise funds for growth, acquisitions and liquidity; and design and improve their corporate development strategies. Fairmount’s clients include successful entrepreneurs, private equity-sponsored enterprises, and global public companies. Since 2003, Fairmount has completed more than 240 transactions, representing over $12 billion in aggregate value, in 20 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

For further information, please contact Neal McCarthy at neal.mccarthy@fairmountpartners.com.