Better For You Wellness, Inc. BFYW, an Ohio-based wellness company at the forefront of plant-based and science-driven innovations in the rapidly expanding $1.5 trillion wellness industry has entered into a binding Membership Interest Purchase Agreement (MIPA) with The Ideation Lab (TIL) LLC and its subsidiaries, Benzinga has exclusively learned.
TIL, an Ohio-domiciled company founded in 2019, has blazed a trail in the wellness
sector across diverse segments, including functional beverages, skincare, personal care and women’s mental wellness products as well as through centralized administrative operations, ensuring seamless efficiency in its endeavors.
The transaction, valued at $3 million will be conducted entirely in BFYW stock. Under the deal, TIL shareholders will be issued preferred shares, though they may elect to receive common shares before October 1, 2023.
Key figures in TIL’s leadership, including Jacob Ellman and founders Ian James and Stephen Letourneau, holding nearly two-thirds of the company’s equity, will opt for preferred shares. This strategic decision aims to minimize shareholder dilution while safeguarding management continuity.
TIL’s remarkable journey in centralized administrative operations has particularly
excelled in the functional beverage sector. A crown jewel of TIL, The Jordre Well, and its Stephen James Curated Coffee Collection (SJCCC), a premium coffee brand, have already made significant waves in the market, securing sales channels at Kroger KR, Amazon AMZN, various resorts, retailers and boutiques.
SJCCC’s Kroger sales span an impressive range of globally sourced whole bean dark, medium and light roasts, with the Company’s K-Cups and Nitro Cold Brew currently undergoing evaluation by multiple national retailers.
TIL’s strategic expansion plans include entry into other major grocery chains, retailers, and resorts, poised to amplify its market reach further. Its CBD coffee collection includes whole beans and ground coffee, with planned expansion into individual K-cup pods and canned Nitro Cold Brew.
Letourneau and James have extensive experience in the cannabis and wellness sector, having led the 2015 $28M+ cannabis reform ballot issue in Ohio, which led to the legalization of medical marijuana in the Buckeye state. They also helped lead the Ohio effort to legalize hemp in Ohio after the 2018 Farm Bill left the states the ability to regulate hemp.
Letourneau, the chief brand officer for CBD Cannuka skincare, led its reformulation, repackaging and launch into all doors at Ulta and sales at Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, QVC online, and other national retailers, taking the brand from nearly $500,000 in first-year sales to $3 million in year two sales. James and Letourneau are partners in business and life, having married in Toronto, Canada in 2003. They hold controlling interests in Better For You Wellness, which required them to work extensively with the public company’s majority independent board of directors.
“I am thrilled to have our brand incubator take this incredible step to join the BFYW family. I am excited to focus our resources on expanding the plant-based product lines and continuing the good work for the community.” Letourneau said. “Our brands have a give-back pledge through GIVZ to help direct donations to over 300 causes, including UNICEF, The Trevor Project, and Pelotonia, just to name a few.”
James, CEO of BFYW, expressed his enthusiasm about this pivotal acquisition. “I am delighted to announce BFYW’s signing of The Ideation Lab’s acquisition deal, along with its exceptional subsidiaries and brands, including The Jordre Well and the thriving Stephen James Curated Coffee brand, with its expanding presence at Kroger, retailers, and resorts. This deal results from unwavering commitment from our Independent Board, particularly our Audit Committee Chair, David Deming.” James continued, “We see great synergies in functional beverage, mental wellness, snacks, personal care, and pet lifestyle lines in retail and hospitality. We are excited by this acquisition’s potential to increase shareholder value and achieve profitability in the near future.”
The transaction is to conclude by November 15, 2023. It will be subject to a third-party fairness opinion and require the submission of two years of audited financial statements, ensuring a transparent and robust foundation for this landmark development.