Boulder Brands takes stake in juice maker

BOULDER – Boulder Brands Investment Group LLC took a minority stake in Suja Juice Inc., a San Diego-based juice maker that sells its products in Whole Foods and Sprouts grocery stores.

Boulder Brands Investment Group, or BBIG, as it’s called, is the investment arm of Boulder Brands Inc. (Nasdaq: BDBD), a natural food products company in Boulder.

Company spokeswoman Carole Buyers declined to discuss financial terms of the transaction, Suja’s possible growth plans or any other investment details.

BBIG made $6.7 million in investments in the three months ending Sept. 30, according to a Boulder Brands earnings statement. In addition to serving as a spokeswoman for Boulder Brands, Buyers is one of three managers of the BBIG investment fund.

Suja’s juices are made from organic fruits and vegetables, according to information on the company’s website. The private company is on track to post sales of $33 million in 2013, according to a company spokeswoman.

Boulder Brands Investment Group said in March that it would partner with Presence Marketing in South Barrington, Illinois, to create the fund. Startup companies who receive money will continue to operate independently, but can take advantage of Boulder Brands’ infrastructure, resources and expertise, executives said at the time.

Boulder Brands previously was known as Boulder Specialty Brands Inc. The company had an initial public offering in 2005. The company changed its name to Smart Balance Inc. in May 2007 when it acquired GFA Brands Inc., a privately held company which owned the Smart Balance and Earth Balance brands. Boulder Brands also owns Best Life, a weight-management brand.

The company is a heavy hitter in the gluten-free and natural-food categories, selling a variety of Udi’s- and Glutino-brand breads and other gluten-free products, as well as Earth Balance products.

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