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SC life-science firm’s parent to go private again after $680M sale

A close-up of several white bottles.

Courtesy of Post and Courier

The parent of a Summerville-based nutritional supplements research and manufacturing business is being sold and going private again under new ownership, two years after selling shares to the public.

Thorne HealthTech Inc. announced a definitive agreement on Aug. 28 to be acquired by the investment firm L Catterton for $680 million. The deal works out to $10.20 on a per-share basis, a 31 percent premium from the previous closing price.

The transaction, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close by the end of the year.

Thorne CEO Paul Jacobson said in a written statement that the sale “marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter” for the life-science company, which relocated the bulk of its sales, research and manufacturing businesses to coastal South Carolina in 2017.

“L Catterton has an impressive track record of fostering the growth and success of leading global consumer brands,” Jacobson said. “Together with their deep expertise in the health and wellness industry, global reach and extensive operational capabilities, I am confident L Catterton is the right partner to fuel Thorne’s long-term growth.”

In a letter to employees, he and chief operating officer Tom McKenna said they expect no major changes for workers. 

“It means business as usual, both now and post-transaction,” they wrote. “We have no current plans for layoffs or changes in our operations as part of this announcement.”

L Catterton is based in Greenwich, Conn., and invests mostly in consumer brands.

The former Thorne Research was formed in Seattle in 1984 and later moved inland to northern Idaho. It announced it was relocating most of its key businesses to Berkeley County about seven years ago after outgrowing its headquarters and factory near the Washington state border. The deal included a $35 million capital investment and 350 jobs.

The company has since expanded its physical footprint and payroll in the region. It employed a total of 584 workers, mostly in Summerville, as of March 31.

For the first half of the year, the company this month reported that its total revenue jumped 26 percent to $138 million from same period of 2022, with “direct to consumer” sales making up about half of that. It also swung to a $4 million profit from a loss of $612,000. 

Thorne listed its shares on the Nasdaq exchange two years ago next month. The company had hoped to raise as much as $135 million in a $15-per-share initial public offering. It ended up raising $70 million.

The stock never climbed back to its 2021 IPO price of $10 until the acquisition was announced Aug. 28. Shares of Thorne closed at $10.10 Tuesday.

Marc Magliacano, a managing partner at L Catterton, said the buyout firm has admired the supplements maker “for many years given its uncompromising approach” to science and innovation. 

“As one of the pioneers of the wellness movement, Thorne continues to lead by example and is on the precipice of breakthrough products and technologies that will allow consumers to significantly extend their health spans through personalized wellness programs developed by Thorne’s proprietary dataset and protocols,” he said.

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.