Gerawan Farming and Wawona Packing Complete Merger
- by Anne Allen
FRESNO AND CUTLER, CA - Hot on the line this morning was a recent merger between Gerawan Farming and Wawona Packing Co. The transaction is being facilitated by Paine Schwartz, an existing investor in Wawona and a global leader in sustainable food chain investing that has partnered with both companies for the merger. While the financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, a news release divulged some exciting details.
"At Gerawan, innovating on a large scale to grow, pack, and ship the world’s best fruit has been key to our success, and those efforts have always hinged on investing in our employees,” said Dan Gerawan, Co-Owner of Gerawan Farming. “These same values underpin Wawona’s success. This merger is an exciting next step to unlock the full potential of both companies."
Both Gerawan and Wawona are third-generation family businesses. Gerawan is a stonefruit industry pioneer with best-in-class farming, packing practices, and proprietary varieties marketed under the Prima® brand. Wawona is a California-based supplier of high-quality stonefruit and a leader in the organic segment of the market.
"Over the last several years, we have focused on accelerating Wawona’s growth by building on the inherent strengths of our business and management team,” said Brent Smittcamp, Executive Chairman of Wawona. “Our acquisition last year of Burchell Nursery was one example, and now this historic merger with Gerawan takes it to yet another level. We are eager to bring the benefits of this merger to our employees, suppliers, and customers."
The combined company will be led by Dan Gerawan, who will be the largest individual shareholder and Chief Executive Officer of the new entity. Brent Smittcamp will also remain a significant shareholder and continue to be highly involved with the combined company. The management team will be comprised of leaders from both companies.
"We have great respect for Wawona’s management and employees, all of whom share our passion for producing the highest-quality stonefruit,” Gerawan continued. “We look forward to working closely with them and the team at Paine Schwartz to deliver even more of the best quality fruit to our customers."
The merger builds upon the legacies and reputations of the two industry-leading companies and creates an enhanced platform for growth and innovation. The combined business will be able to better serve its customers and create significant opportunities for employees.
"This merger represents a tremendous milestoneand the type of growth opportunity that we can achieve by leveraging Paine Schwartz’s agribusiness sector expertise and close collaboration with family-owned businesses,” Kevin Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer of Paine Schwartz, said. “We look forward to this new chapter for two companies that have been incredibly successful on their own, and we believe they can achieve even greater success through this merger. Dan’s experience and commitment are invaluable assets, and we look forward to supporting him in leading the combined company in this next stage of growth and value creation."
Congratulations to Gerawan Farming and Wawona Packing Co. on the recent merge of their two companies!