GB Merchant Partners Brings Life to Gardenburger through DIP and Exit Financing

Press Release

The Gardenburger brand is healthier than ever, thanks in part to a junior secured loan that GB Merchant Partners provided to Gardenburger, Inc. in late 2005. The loan was pivotal in helping the company deliver on its pre-packaged bankruptcy plan. In just under five months, publicly-traded Gardenburger (GBURQ.OB) has emerged from voluntary bankruptcy protection as a private company under the new name of Wholesome & Hearty Foods, Inc.

“GB Merchant Partners has been a great partner to work with through the DIP and exit,” said Scott C. Wallace, President and Chief Executive Officer of now Wholesome & Hearty Foods, Inc. “They always understood the financial value of the Gardenburger brand, as well as our overall business.”

Based in Irvine, California, Gardenburger began in 1985 under the name Wholesome & Hearty Foods, Inc. In 1997, the name was changed to Gardenburger, Inc. to reflect the company’s expanding product line, which included meat alternative offerings beyond veggie burgers. In 2002, the company began doing business as Gardenburger Authentic Foods Company.

From the start, the Gardenburger brand has been about offering consumers healthy, great tasting, and convenient meatless food choices. Currently, Gardenburger meat alternative products and veggie burgers are distributed throughout the United States via retail grocery stores, food service outlets, club stores, and natural food stores.

“We always believed that by capitalizing on both their market niche and the strength of their brand, Gardenburger could successfully restructure the company,” said Lawrence Klaff, Principal and Managing Director, GB Merchant Partners. “Once again, this proves that bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean failure for a company, provided they partner with the right lender.”

Like Gardenburger, other companies can benefit from GB Merchant Partners continual expansion into the non-retail sector. GB Merchant Partners not only helps companies in the midst of restructuring, but also provides junior secured/mezzanine financing to healthy companies at all stages of growth.

About GB Merchant Partners
GB Merchant Partners (a Gordon Brothers Group company) provides creative debt financing solutions to middle market companies in the retail, consumer, products distribution, wholesale and manufacturing sectors. Debt financings are typically structured as junior secured, ‘Tranche B’ loans, mezzanine loans or bridge loans, and can be used by borrowers for working capital, to fund long-term growth to execute an acquisition or facilitate a turnaround.

About Gordon Brothers Group
Founded in 1903, Gordon Brothers Group provides global advisory, operating and financial services to companies at times of growth or restructuring. Gordon Brothers Group purchases and/or sells in excess of $10 billion in assets (including inventory, real estate, industrial assets, accounts receivable and intellectual property) at original value annually and appraises over $30 billion. The firm also provides debt financing and equity capital to consumer products companies, and facilitates mergers and acquisitions with strategic partners. Gordon Brothers Group is headquartered in Boston, MA and maintains 20 offices worldwide