Laird, a maker of simple, functional foods with clean ingredients such as mushrooms, pumpkin seeds and hemp, was a much-ballyhooed IPO nearly two years ago, but its time in the public markets has been anything but easy. Despite its presence in the better-for-you food space, Laird continues to lose money and last week said it posted a 6% drop in sales during its second quarter compared to the prior year.
Co-founded seven years ago by big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, the company picked Vieth as its new CEO based on his extensive background in the food and beverage industry following stints at Sovos Brands and WhiteWave Foods, now owned by Danone. Laird is facing pressure from large CPGs and countless upstarts that are producing similar offerings, while getting hit especially hard by supply chain disruptions and inflation that is eating into shoppers’ buying power.
Laird’s board may ultimately decide that while they still believe in the business and equity that comes from its name recognition, achieving its long-term goals could be better done outside of the unforgiving spotlight of Wall Street. With Laird’s cash on its balance sheet nearly equal to its market value, EF Hutton SPV I LLC could see an economic opportunity to profit by purchasing the food maker and selling off the brand to a bigger owner.