UPDATE: Vancouver-based vitamin maker bought for $650M

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor



The corporate parent of Vancouver’s Northwest Natural Products, a fast-growing maker of gummy vitamins for children and adults, has been purchased for $650 million in cash, the purchasing company Church & Dwight Co. of Princeton, N.J. reported Monday

Northwest Natural Products makes Vitafusion vitamins, for adults, and L’il Critters vitamins, for children. It is operated by Avid Health Inc. of Vancouver, the company being purchased by Church & Dwight Co. For the year ending June 30, Avid’s sales were about $230 million, Church & Dwight said.

Princeton, N.J.-based Church & Dwight makes personal-care, household and specialty products under the Arm & Hammer brand name. The deal, announced Monday, is expected to close this fall.

“The acquisition of Avid’s gummy vitamins business represents a great addition to our existing portfolio and brings to our company a new growth platform in one of the fastest-growing segments of the attractive vitamin/mineral/supplement category. It is also consistent with our strategy of strengthening our business by adding No. 1 or No. 2 brands in areas of high growth potential,” said James R. Craigie, chairman and chief executive officer of Church & Dwight, in a news release.

Northwest Natural representatives directed questions to Church & Dwight. The New Jersey company did not respond to questions submitted Tuesday.

Formed in 1985, Northwest Natural Products produces over 142 vitamin products sold at major retail stores, according to its website.

Company officials would not comment on the sale or respond to questions, but a 2010 article in The Columbian reported that Northwest Natural Products employed nearly 500 people, from production workers to certified food technologists.

It is owned by Kate Jones, who is the company’s president, and husband Marty Rifkin, chief executive officer.

The company is headquartered at 6350 N.E. Campus Drive in Vancouver, near Fort Vancouver High School. It also owns a 200,000-square-foot warehouse in Ridgefield for manufacturing and distributing products.