MidOcean Partners and Kroger Establish Strategic Collaboration to Bring More Emerging Brands to Customers Across America

Form MPearlRock to Help Growing Brands Find the Right Customers for Their Unique Products

NEW YORK & CINCINNATI – January 11, 2024 – The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), its consumer product investment platform PearlRock Partners (“PearlRock”), and MidOcean Partners (“MidOcean”), a premier New York-based alternative asset manager specializing in middle-market private equity and alternative credit investments, today announced the formation of MPearlRock, a strategic collaboration to introduce emerging consumer packaged goods (“CPG”) brands to new customers.

MPearlRock combines MidOcean’s expertise investing in and supporting leading consumer brands with Kroger’s deep retail and CPG experience. MPearlRock will also use 84.51°’s retail data science and insights as it seeks to work with emerging CPG companies to identify exciting brands and the best ways to invest to capitalize on the changing retail landscape. Seasoned CPG executive and investor Brian Kelley will serve as CEO of MPearlRock.

“We are pleased to work with Kroger, PearlRock and 84.51° to establish MPearlRock, which builds upon our commitment to transforming consumer-focused companies through collaborations,” said Erik Oken, Chairman of MidOcean’s Private Equity business. “We believe the strategic pairing of MidOcean’s capabilities with Kroger, robust data science and consumer insights capabilities, and deep industry relationships will create an unrivaled collaboration to support the leading brands of tomorrow. We look forward to working together to capture the pipeline of opportunities we see before us.”

MPearlRock will also provide important insights and value to growing CPG brands, including distribution, in-store testing, manufacturing and bulk procurement, supply chain and back-office support, data analytics, talent acquisition, and operations to accelerate their next stage of growth and enhance their long-term potential for success.

Brian Kelley, Chief Executive Officer of MPearlRock, added, “As consumers look to engage with more personalized, entrepreneurial products, we believe MPearlRock is well positioned to source investment opportunities in innovative CPG brands and deliver the foundational resources these brands require to meaningfully grow. We are confident that the experience and resources of our trusted collaborators, MidOcean and Kroger, will enable MPearlRock to make superior investment decisions across the CPG sector.”

Yael Cosset, Chief Information Officer of Kroger, concluded, “MidOcean has a longstanding track record of successful investing in consumer brands. Combining its investing expertise with customer insights from Kroger and 84.51° will mean brands can introduce the right product to the right customer at the right time. For the customer, it will mean more convenient opportunities to discover new products they love. This collaboration is an important step toward significant, sustainable growth for leading-edge food and beverage companies.”

MidOcean has more than twenty years of experience successfully investing in branded consumer products. The firm is supported by a dedicated network of seasoned operating partners with differentiated sector expertise working alongside founder-led companies and strategic partners to grow their businesses. MidOcean’s consumer investing expertise includes Casper’s Ice Cream, FreshPet, Louisiana Fish Fry, Jenny Craig, and Nutrabolt, among others.

About MPearlRock

Launched in January 2024, MPearlRock is a strategic partnership between MidOcean Partners, a premier New York-based alternative asset manager specializing in middle-market private equity and alternative credit investments, and PearlRock Partners, the consumer product investment platform for The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR). MPearlRock identifies and invests in high-growth, emerging consumer packaged goods brands that are positively disrupting the food and beverage industry. The investment platform targets growing, entrepreneurial consumer businesses with $30 to $100 million in annual revenue. For more information, please visit: https://www.mpearlrock.com.

About MidOcean

MidOcean Partners is a premier New York-based alternative asset manager specializing in middle-market private equity and alternative credit investments. Since its inception in 2003, MidOcean Private Equity has targeted investments in high-quality middle-market companies in the consumer and business services sectors. MidOcean Credit was launched in 2009 and currently manages a series of alternative credit strategies, collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), and customized separately managed accounts.

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