April 22, 2024

Novelty Hill Capital Advises Firehook Bakery in Sale to Forward Consumer Partners

SEATTLE, WA – April 22, 2024: Novelty Hill Capital, a leading middle-market investment bank based in Seattle, Washington, is pleased to announce the recent sale of Firehook Bakery, a rapidly growing baking business specializing in artisanal baked goods, to Forward Consumer Partners, a private equity firm that invests in branded consumer businesses.

Novelty Hill Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor to Firehook on the landmark deal, which will continue Firehook’s more than 30-year tradition of uncompromising quality, while preserving the company’s vision to marry its family heritage and craftsmanship with strategic innovation and continued expansion.

Established in 1992 by founder Pierre Abushacra, Firehook began as a neighborhood bakery in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, and has risen to become the U.S.’s premier artisanal cracker brand. Under Abushacra’s leadership, Firehook has experienced explosive growth while maintaining its commitment to quality and reputation for producing organic, non-GMO, Kosher, and SQF-certified snacks handcrafted in small batches.

As part of the acquisition, Abushacra will retain a significant minority ownership stake and continue to serve on the Board of Directors for Firehook. He and Forward also welcome Maura Mottolese as Firehook’s new chief executive officer. Mottolese’s distinguished career in the food and beverage industry includes serving as CEO of both Cholula and Tate’s Bake Shop with tremendous success.

Abushacra reflected on the sale, saying: “Working with Novelty Hill Capital was critical in positioning Firehook for its next phase of growth. Novelty Hill’s patience, integrity and transparency throughout the process were key in solidifying Forward as the ideal partner to propel the brand into the future. From the beginning of our engagement, Michael Barber and his team have been respectful stewards of our vision and savvy strategic advisors helping us to realize an exceptional outcome.”

Michael Barber, CEO and managing director of Novelty Hill Capital, commented on the acquisition, saying: “This deal demonstrates our commitment to prioritizing our client’s vision, while leveraging our extensive M&A expertise to achieve their strategic goals. It represents more than just a transaction. It’s a significant advancement for both Firehook and the artisanal food industry, and exemplifies our ability to deliver the most favorable results for our clients.”

The sale to Forward represents a new chapter for Firehook under Mottolese’s leadership.

Mottolese commented on the deal, sharing: “It is a true privilege to join a business with such a rare combination of existing success and future opportunity. I look forward to building on the strong foundation that Pierre and team have created as we strengthen the Firehook brand, expand the company’s capabilities, and grow its loyal base of consumers.”

Forward Consumer Partners was founded in 2023 by Matt Leeds, following his tenure as a partner at L Catterton where he invested in brands including Cholula, Kodiak Cakes, Everlane, Inspired Pet Nutrition, and others. Firehook’s acquisition marks the first transaction of Forward’s debut fund, which manages a total of $425 million in capital.

“We could not be more excited to partner with Pierre and the talented individuals who comprise the Firehook team,” Leeds said. “We are grateful to have pursued this unique opportunity on a fully proprietary basis, and are honored to be entrusted with the next chapter in Firehook’s evolution.”