July 3, 2022


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Clif Bar's Founder Just Sold the Company for $2.9 Billion. He Threw In Its Values for Free

Clif Bar’s Founder Just Sold the Company for $2.9 Billion. He Threw In Its Values for Free

Given that founding his vitality-bar company after a 175-mile bicycle ride, Gary Erickson has fiercely prioritized Clif Bar’s independence for 30 a long time. Until finally this 7 days.

Mondelez Global will obtain Clif Bar in a offer that will sum to at the very least $2.9 billion, the company announced Monday.

It really is stunning information from a company that has turned down so numerous acquisition presents about its lifetime that Erickson explained to me in 2018 he hadn’t just missing observe, but was purposefully unaware how quite a few there experienced been. (His personnel experienced been instructed not to pass on messages to him from potential prospective buyers.)

Earlier in the company’s background, he threw himself, and the total firm, into significant financial debt to steer clear of an acquisition. By 1998, Clif Bar–named immediately after Erickson’s father, Clifford–experienced been developing so speedy it landed at No. 152 on the Inc. 5000 record of the quickest-expanding private organizations in the U.S. But by 2000, his business enterprise associate Lisa Thomas, determined she needed to leave the organization–and a well-timed acquisition offer would aid that. On the cusp of signing the $120 million offer, Erikson pulled out, plummeting himself into $60 million in credit card debt.

Immediately after having what he called “the gamble of the century,” Erickson led Clif Bar to become one of the country’s pioneering purpose-pushed companies, focused to not one particular bottom line, but instead five pillars of good results that contain sustaining folks, neighborhood, the earth, the brand name, and the organization. He strove to create inexperienced creation facilities, pay out staff perfectly in income and advantages–and in 2010 produced them house owners of the company, much too, by adopting an worker stock ownership program that pays yearly dividends.

Erickson and his spouse and business enterprise partner, Package Crawford, as of a handful of many years in the past, owned 80 per cent of Clif Bar. Despite handing more than their co-CEO titles in 2013, the pair have been actively involved in each individual important business final decision. As for the board of directors? They  by itself created up the board.

“Gary and I have usually been really positive about our inner thoughts, and our passion, and our love for the company. We needed to be the most important decision makers at all periods,” Crawford explained to me in 2018. “I assume she’s indicating we are handle freaks,” Erickson joked.

Now they are providing up some of that regulate for fantastic. But they may well not be abandoning the “Five Aspirations” that information it. In reality, in a launch asserting the acquisition, Clif Bar’s CEO considering that mid-2020, Sally Grimes, said: “Our purposes and cultures are aligned and remaining portion of a worldwide snacking corporation with broad product offerings can assistance us accelerate our expansion although being genuine to our deeply ingrained Five Aspirations–sustaining our folks, earth, community, organization, and brands.” Certainly, the “people” part of it–the staff who possess 20 percent of the business–will advantage considerably.

Crawford, Erickson, and Grimes likely created the conclusion not just for the upside for additional than 1,200 staff members, but also to proceed the brand’s progress. “Business enterprise” and “neighborhood” are focuses of the acquisition, way too. The worldwide snack brand name Mondelez–which also owns the Oreo, Ritz, and Honey Maid makes, among the quite a few other people–can use its distribution prowess to extend internationally and inside the U.S. Additionally, the communities where by Clif Bar is produced will not shed out. Mondelez said in its launch on the acquisition that it would carry on to function the the small business from its current headquarters in Emeryville, California, and green-producing services in Idaho and Indiana.

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