Eighteen months after Hain Celestial’s acquisition of BluePrint, the founders of the cold-pressed juice brand have exited the company.
Hain Celestial acquired BluePrint in December, 2012 in a deal initially valued at over $26 million. At the time, BluePrint founders Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss praised the acquisition, in which the pair remained in place as top executives of the brand.
In a statement, Sakoutis and Huss said that they were “absolutely thrilled to join the Hain Celestial family of brands and take our business to the next level, and that Hain was “the ideal partner with whom we can grow and expand the BluePrint brand.”
Fast forward to May 22, 2014 when Sakoutis sent an e-mail to BevNET and other unspecified recipients, offering a brief — if not overly enthusiastic — announcement.
“As you may know, Erica and I have left Hain BluePrint as of May 2nd, 2014. We built a great brand and Hain’s acquisition of the BluePrint brand provided additional opportunities to grow the business. Erica and I are looking forward to the next chapter in our professional lives which we will share with you as it unfolds.”
On June 5, Huss responded to a request for further comment via e-mail, stating, “We’re not available to discuss at the moment, but we will definitely be in touch with you soon.”
In response to an inquiry about the departure of Sakoutis and Huss, Hain Celestial sent the following statement to BevNET:
“Hain Celestial acquired a great brand in BluePrint and, with the Founders, Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss, have grown the business in many ways. Ms. Sakoutis and Ms. Huss decided it was time for them to explore new opportunities in their professional lives, and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.”
Sakoutis and Huss continue to be featured as the founders of BluePrint on the company website and online press kit, however, it’s unclear whether Hain will continue to use the pair in communication and marketing of the brand, nor what impact their departure will have on consumer perception of BluePrint products.
As the face of BluePrint, Sakoutis and Huss have been highlighted in dozens of publications and articles about cold-pressed juice and juice cleansing and lauded as passionate entrepreneurs who live the heath-focused lifestyle portrayed by the brand. In 2012, the pair authored the book “The 3-Day Cleanse: Your BluePrint for Fresh Juice, Real Food, and a Total Body Reset,” which remains a top-seller within categories for cookbooks and health & fitness books on Amazon.com.
While Sakoutis and Huss have moved on from BluePrint, based on information from Hain Celestial’s 2013 Annual Report (which includes company financials for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2013), the acquisition of BluePrint included potential for additional compensation to Sakoutis and Huss that, based on future sales of BluePrint products, could reach over $82 million. (Note that the following dollar figures represent thousands.)
“On December 21, 2012, we acquired the assets and business of Zoe Sakoutis LLC, d/b/a BluePrint Cleanse (“BluePrint”), a nationally recognized leader in the cold-pressed juice category based in New York City, for $16,679 in cash and 174,267 shares of the Company’s common stock valued at $9,525. Additionally, contingent consideration of up to a maximum of approximately $82,400 is payable based upon the achievement of specified operating results during the two annual periods ending December 31, 2013 and 2014.
Hain stated that it recorded $13,491 “as the fair value of the contingent consideration at the acquisition date,” based on “the present value of the expected contingent payments, determined using the weighted probabilities of the possible payments.”
However, the company noted that it is “required to reassess the fair value of contingent payments on a periodic basis,” and that “during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, the Company’s reassessment resulted in additional expense of $2,337 related to BluePrint.”