Orange County Business Journal

Irvine Firms Buys Locally Based Food Distributor

Jane Yu Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Irvine-based Versant International Inc. has acquired Newport Beach-based Grocers Direct LLC, the second food-related buy for the firm in recent weeks.

Grocers Direct is a food brokerage and distribution company.

Versant International is a “development stage” company with four employees here, and trades on the over-the-counter bulletin board. Both of its recent acquisitions came on undisclosed terms.

The first deal was in August, when Versant International bought organic-foods company Mamma’s Best LLC in Irvine.

Mamma’s Best, which makes jams, soups and various sauces, has tripled the number of stores that carry its products in the past six months, according to the company. It recently struck a deal to sell its products through 125 additional grocery stores in the western region, including Mother’s Market & Kitchen, Gelsons Markets, and Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Markets. That came on the heels of earlier deals to distribute Mamma’s Best products through 50 Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Markets stores.

Versant International said it has raised more than $500,000 in the past six months and plans to invest more than $5 million in various companies in the next 18 months. Its investor base includes institutional and retail lenders, individual investors and investment bankers, according to the firm.