Tyson Foods Buys Mexican Food Maker Circle Foods of California

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale on Monday said it had acquired the assets of Circle Foods LLC, a producer of frozen and refrigerated handheld Mexican foods, uncooked tortillas and Indian flatbreads.

Tyson bought the company from Claridge Inc., a Montreal-based investment firm. Terms of the deal, which closed on June 1, were no disclosed.

Circle Foods, based in California, makes branded products including Nuevo Grille, Tortillaland and Rotiland. It also makes private label products for various customers. It has a 159,000-SF factory in San Diego and employs about 600 full-time workers.

Tyson said it doesn't plan any "significant operational changes" and intends to keep existing the firm's management and production team.

"Claridge and the Circle Foods team have developed an outstanding portfolio of products and customers, with a fantastic plant and workforce, and will be an excellent fit within our branded consumer products group," Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods, said in a news release. "We believe Tyson's robust sales structure, as well as our frozen and refrigerated foods distribution system, will enable this business to accelerate its growth."

Circle Foods' San Diego factory was built in 2008. The plant produces burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos and tamales, as well as tortillas and Indian flat breads.

"We are delighted to see the transition of Circle Foods to Tyson Foods who are committed to continue the growth of the business," Stephen Bronfman, executive chairman of Claridge, said in a news release. "Right from the beginning when we met the Tyson people and organization we knew we had an excellent partner we could work with on this transaction. We are confident that Circle Foods will flourish under Tyson's ownership."

Private equity firm Claridge represents the interests of the Stephen Bronfman family of Canada. The company has a portfolio of third-party managed investments and direct equity stakes in the food industry. Some of its holdings include Plats Du Chef of Montreal and La Terra Fina of Union City Calif. It also has holdings in real estate and entertainment.