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AgriFORCE to acquire international berry business

AgriFORCE Growing Systems entered into a binding letter of intent to acquire US berry shipper Berry People LLC, 'a berry business with an increasingly international footprint and a scalable platform model'. In collaboration with AgriFORCE, Berry People aims to further develop backward integration into agricultural production via farming joint ventures and deploy licensed and developed IP as part of a scalable franchising model. 

"The acquisition bolsters the AgriFORCE Brands division and allows us to realize commercial synergies with UN(THINK), which aims at innovating in the specialty flour and grain-based products categories," the company says. 

Mauro Pennella, President of AgriFORCE Brands, said, "We aim to maximize commercial synergies between Berry People and UN(THINK), in terms of distribution, to retail, food service, and other areas. We anticipate that the additional volume coming in the next year from their new grower relationships in Mexico should drive robust growth in 2023."

"Furthermore, we see a great fit with Delphy, given their well-established soft fruit and CEA advisory business, as well as their advanced R&D capabilities, which will work with Berry People and its grower-operators to drive increased yields and improved quality, enhance farm operations, and support the deployment of new varietals, fortifying Berry People's vertical integration and growth plans."

AgriFORCE is an intellectual property (IP)-focused agtech company dedicated to advancing sustainable cultivation practices and food and plant products.

Berry People was founded in 2017 by berry industry veterans to create a new platform to meet market demand for a branded, year-round, and full-line supply of organic and conventional berries. Berry People had unaudited net revenues of $37 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. 

Berry People quickly established a recognized global trade brand and scalable operations, comprised of over 200 retail and food service clients and over 100 grower and exporter clients across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Peru.

The LOI sets forth a purchase price of $28 million, consisting of $18.2 million in cash and $9.8 million in AgriFORCE-restricted shares, due for payment at closing to acquire 70% of Berry People's equity interests.

Berry People will be eligible for future earnouts five years after closing based on future revenue and EBITDA targets associated with agreed-upon growth targets.

The berries market was $9.65 billion in 2021 in the U.S. alone, with growth rates of around 10% or more each year since 2019, a trend that will likely continue.

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