March 21, 2007

Castanea Partners Completes Sale of Fuze to Coca-Cola

Castanea Partners announced today the completion of the sale of Fuze Beverage to The Coca-Cola Company. Fuze, a market leader in brand innovation, develops and markets vitamin infused juice drinks and teas to consumers seeking healthier beverage alternatives. Castanea initially invested in Fuze in early 2004.

Fuze was founded in 2001 by Lance Collins, an entrepreneur with an impressive track record of beverage innovation. Since Castanea’s investment, Fuze has enjoyed rapid growth and developed a nationally recognized brand in the highly competitive new age beverage category. In addition to its flagship Fuze brand, the company’s extensive portfolio includes a successful line of energy drinks and the recently launched organic WaterPlus.

Commenting on the completion of the transaction, Brian Knez, a Managing Partner at Castanea, said, “Lance and his team have done an outstanding job building the Fuze brand through creative grassroots marketing, improved distribution, and continuous product innovation.”

During Castanea’s tenure with the company, Fuze launched a continuous stream of new products, greatly expanding its presence across retail channels, and built a nationwide network of distribution. Since Castanea’s investment in Fuze, the company’s sales volume has more than tripled.

Lance Collins, Fuze Founder and CEO, commented, “Castanea joined us at a critical time in our development and really contributed to our success. They understood our industry and repeatedly rolled-up their sleeves to help us tackle important issues. We were looking for a value-added partner and they certainly delivered.”

About Castanea

Castanea is a private equity firm that works in partnership with founders and management teams of innovative passion brands to grow their businesses through a combination of capital investment and operating expertise. We are focused on select consumer verticals including beauty, food and beverage, multi-unit services, and enthusiast lifestyle. We typically invest between $15 to $150 million of equity in minority or majority transactions. Our team of talented operating executives offers critical expertise in key verticals and functional areas, and provides our partner companies with strategic and tactical support. Castanea has more than $1 billion in assets under management and is currently investing from a $735 million fourth fund. For more information about Castanea Partners read our story.

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