U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Represents Annie's Homegrown, Inc. in Majority

August 26, 2002

Interest Sale to Solera Capital LLC

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, a leading mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisor, served as exclusive financial advisor to Annie's Homegrown, Inc. (Annie's) in a sale of a majority interest in the company to Solera Capital LLC, a private equity firm based in New York.  Prior to the closing of the transaction, the majority interest in Annie's was owned by Homegrown Natural Foods, Inc., owner of Consorzio and Fantastic Foods brands. Annie's founder (Ann Withey), Homegrown Natural Foods and Annie's management will retain minority interests in the company. In addition to the majority stake it acquired at closing, Solera Capital plans to invest incremental growth capital into Annie's post-transaction. The transaction was completed on August 9, 2002.

Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Wakefield, Mass., Annie's Homegrown is the preeminent and fastest growing brand in the premium-pasta-meals category. The company's portfolio includes over 25 different varieties of natural and organic pasta meals.  Annie's has reported a 27 percent compound- annual-growth-rate in sales over the past three years and, according to industry research, the natural/organic food industry is projected to grow at double-digit rates annually over the next several years. Annie's has attracted an intensely loyal consumer base by providing premium natural and organic pasta products that connect with consumers on a functional, emotional and economical level.

Annie's is the preeminent brand in the natural and organic macaroni-and- cheese category, said Glenn Gurtcheff, managing director and co-head of the Middle Market M&A Group at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. Without question, the company is poised to capitalize on an outstanding market opportunity.

Solera Capital is an ideal partner for Annie's, said Jon Kelly, investment banker in the Middle Market M&A Group at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.  Solera has the resources to further expand the company's distribution in the mainstream grocery channel and also truly appreciates the importance of the brand's grassroots authenticity.

Natural foods are growing considerably faster than the overall food industry, said John Foraker, CEO of Homegrown Natural Foods. Annie's, Fantastic Foods and Consorzio are strong brand names that consumers trust and all have tremendous potential in this dynamic market.  In addition to providing new capital and resources to Annie's, this transaction enables Homegrown Natural Foods to focus its resources on continuing the growth of its Consorzio and Fantastic Foods brands, and provides capital necessary for us to pursue other complementary acquisitions in the natural food industry.

About U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray:

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), provides a full range of investment products and services to businesses, institutions and individuals. The company's investment banking business has grown significantly in the last several years by focusing on the needs of growth companies in the health care, technology, financial institutions, consumer and manufacturing and services sectors. U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray has a national reputation for its expertise in fundamental research, equity and debt financing and mergers and acquisitions advisory. U.S. Bancorp offers a comprehensive range of financial solutions through U.S. Bank, U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, U.S. Bancorp Investments and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

Nondeposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or other obligations of or guaranteed by U.S. Bank National Association or its affiliates, and involve investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested. Securities products and services are offered through U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc., member SIPC and NYSE, Inc., a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp.   (5/99-0679)



SOURCE  U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray

    -0-                             08/26/2002

/CONTACT:  Dana Wade, Public Relations of U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, +1-650-838-1329/

/Web site:  http://www.piperjaffray.com  /


CO:  U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray; Annie's Homegrown, Inc.; Solera Capital LLC;

Homegrown Natural Foods, Inc.

ST:  Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts

-- MNM017 --
0123 08/26/2002 15:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com


By selecting Continue, you will leave U.S. Bank and enter a third-party Web site. U.S. Bank is not responsible for the content of, or products and services provided by Intuit, nor does it guarantee the system availability or accuracy of information contained in the site. This Web site is not controlled by U.S. Bank. Please note that the third party site may have privacy and information security policies that differ from those of U.S. Bank.