Funds affiliated with Charlesbank Capital Partners have announced the formation of Bridges Consumer Healthcare (“Bridges”) in partnership with industry executives Robert Long and Blair Ramey. Bridges will focus on acquiring companies and assets as part of a strategy to build a market-leading consumer healthcare platform. As part of its formation, Bridges has acquired the North American rights to ThermaCare® HeatWraps (“ThermaCare”) from GSK Consumer Healthcare (“GSK”). Launched in 2001, ThermaCare is a portfolio of clinically proven heat wraps offering targeted pain management solutions for different areas of the body.
“We are excited to be partnering with Robert, Blair and the Bridges team to build a leading consumer healthcare company,” said Josh Klevens, Managing Director at Charlesbank. “Robert and Blair have a proven track record of transforming over-the-counter (OTC) and personal care brands, and we see great opportunity to grow Bridges organically and through portfolio and single brand acquisitions like ThermaCare.”
Mr. Long and Mr. Ramey are industry veterans who worked together at Sanofi Consumer Healthcare (formerly Chattem, Inc.) since 2006 helping to deliver industry leading revenue growth over that time. Mr. Long has more than 20 years of industry experience, including as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi’s North American Consumer Healthcare division, and will serve as President and CEO of Bridges. Mr. Ramey brings over 27 years of related experience, most recently as Head of Marketing and Innovation for Sanofi’s US Consumer Healthcare division; he will serve as Bridges’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. Mr. Long and Mr. Ramey bring with them other key executives with highly relevant experience and a track record of revitalizing and building numerous OTC and personal care brands.
“We are very happy to announce the partnership with Charlesbank, the formation of Bridges and the acquisition of the North American rights to ThermaCare,” said Mr. Long. “ThermaCare has a leadership position within the topical pain category, a loyal consumer base and a brand name with staying power that communicates efficacy. Strategic acquisitions such as this are a priority for Bridges, and we are looking forward to additional opportunities.”
“ThermaCare is a trusted brand that addresses the needs of millions of consumers looking for effective, drug-free solutions for relieving muscle pain and soreness,” stated Mr. Ramey. “With a strong presence in traditional food, drug, mass-merchant and e-commerce online channels, ThermaCare is well-positioned with the growth in self-directed treatment by consumers,” continued Ramey. “Brands such as ThermaCare that address unmet needs of consumers play well into our strategy of growing brands with innovation and advertising.”
Bridges builds on the deep industry expertise of Mr. Long and Mr. Ramey as well as Charlesbank’s experience in the OTC sector through its prior investment in Blacksmith Brands. Bridges will capitalize on compelling industry trends and intends to pursue additional acquisitions, including larger corporate carve-outs as well as the acquisition of individual brands.
Charlesbank was advised by William Blair & Company and legal counsel was provided by Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.
About Charlesbank Capital Partners: Based in Boston and New York, Charlesbank Capital Partners is a middle-market private investment firm managing more than $7 billion of capital. Charlesbank focuses on management-led buyouts and growth capital financings, and also engages in opportunistic credit and technology investments. The firm seeks to build companies with sustainable competitive advantage and excellent prospects for growth. For more information, please visit www.charlesbank.com.
About Bridges Consumer Healthcare: Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Bridges was formed in 2020 as a partnership between Robert Long, Blair Ramey and Charlesbank. Bridges’ mission is to build a leading consumer healthcare company focused on OTC and personal care products and driven by consumer-led innovation and marketing.