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Vitamin Shoppe to Emphasize Organic Growth

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Published: December 9th, 2019
Vitamin Shoppe GC David Kastin said that the company will pursue organic growth, while its soon-to-be parent pursues M&A.

In the final keynote of The Deal Economy Conference, Vitamin Shoppe Inc.’s (VS) general counsel and corporate secretary, David Kastin, said that while the company’s soon-to-be parent company is on the hunt, Vitamin Shoppe itself will focus on organic growth.

Kastin told the audience on Wednesday, Nov. 20, that Vitamin Shoppe’s  plans include focusing on building communities around its nearly 800 brick-and-mortar locations and customization practices.

“The biggest thing now is personalization,” said Kastin.

Though Secaucus, N.J.-based Vitamin Shoppe has previously done deals as recently as 2014, the company plans to focus on organic growth, he said. To that end, the company launched its Only Me personalized supplements service on Sept. 9.

Kastin also noted that, for Vitamin Shoppe, there’s a connection between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce, as locations connect the company to a community.

Additionally, Kastin offered color surrounding the company’s in-process sale to Franchise Group Inc., which was announced in August. The vitamin retailer is set to be acquired for $208 million by Franchise Group, formerly Liberty Tax Inc., in a deal that is anticipated to close by Dec. 16.

The transaction is a result of a 2018 activist campaign by Vintage Capital Management LLC and Shah Capital Management Inc., which together owned a more than 30% stake in the company and won a total of 5 seats on the 10-person board without a proxy fight.

Brian Kahn-led Vintage owns Franchise Group, in addition to the firm’s involvement in Vitamin Shoppe.

Kastin described the company’s settlement with Vintage and Shah as rooted in a desire to “keep an eye on the ball.”

“A lot of capital in the company would go into a proxy fight,” he said.

Looking forward, though Vitamin Shoppe is not considering deals, Franchise Group, which already has acquired three other companies in about the last year, is in the market for M&A, Kastin confirmed.

Back in June, The Deal learned that Vintage is interested in buying Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. (RRGB) instead of completing a previously-launched director fight at the restaurant chain.

Editor’s note: The original version of this article was published earlier on The Deal’s premium subscription website. For access, log in to TheDeal.com or use the form below to request a free trial.

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