• Market Crumbs

Goya Once Again Walks Away From A Sale


Image via Victor Garcia on Unsplash

Goya, which is the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the U.S., has come under fire as of late following remarks by the company's CEO Robert Unanue.


"We're all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder," Unanue said. "We have an incredible builder. And we pray. We pray for our leadership, our president, and we pray for our country — that we will continue to prosper and to grow."


Unanue's comments quickly led to calls to boycott Goya's products, with the hashtags #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway trending on Twitter.


Unanue responded to the boycott, calling it "suppression of speech" while saying he would not apologize for his comments.


Amid the furor over Unanue's comments, Goya reportedly has torpedoed a deal to sell a stake in the company for the second time in less than a year.


Last October, Goya was in late-stage talks to sell a majority stake in the company to The Carlyle Group in a deal that would've valued Goya at approximately $3.5 billion. About a month later talks fell apart and Goya walked away from the deal as Carlyle didn't want the founding family to remain in control.


"This was supposed to be a control transaction … and the family apparently changed its position in the last couple of weeks," Carlyle founder David Rubenstein said after the deal fell through.


It appears Goya has once again balked at a deal to sell a stake in the company. Goya reportedly walked away from a deal to sell a minority stake in the company to BDT Capital Partners that would've valued Goya at more than $4 billion. BDT Capital Partners hoped to expand Goya and eventually take the company public, but also wanted Unanue—who owns less than 5% of the company, to step down as CEO within 18 months.


Sources say Goya's board met last week and voted against the deal after tentatively agreeing to it just a few weeks earlier. Unanue reportedly saved his job last week by allowing the family-controlled board to add two independent directors, to which the board responded by voting against the deal.


A source close to the family believes the timing of Unanue's comments regarding Trump as the company negotiated a sale are not a coincidence.


"I don’t think it was a coincidence," the source said. "All of a sudden there is going to be a shareholder vote and here he is, saying this stuff about Trump."


While it remains to be seen how the boycott against Goya plays out, the company is clearly seen as an attractive opportunity to investors who wish to take it public. With so much power still in the hands of the founding family, it also remains to be seen whether they will ever relinquish control of the company their ancestors founded in 1936.


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