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Nature's Bounty should do fine under new private equity owner, exec says

David Rubenstein, co-founder of the private equity firm

David Rubenstein, co-founder of the private equity firm Carlyle Group, speaks with journalist Megan Murphy in Washington Friday about Ronkonkoma-based vitamin maker Nature's Bounty. Credit: Newsday/James T. Madore

WASHINGTON – Vitamin manufacturer Nature’s Bounty Co. in Ronkonkoma “is in pretty good shape” and will be managed well by its new owner, a top executive with the company’s former majority shareholder said Friday.

David Rubenstein, co-founder of the private equity investment firm Carlyle Group, said Nature’s Bounty should do fine under the ownership of KKR, another private equity firm.

“I think the company is in pretty good shape,” he told a journalism conference here. “So I’m not worried that KKR will not do a good job.”

In late September, Manhattan-based KKR purchased a controlling interest in Nature’s Bounty from Carlyle, which had been the majority shareholder since 2010. Under the deal, Washington-based Carlyle retains a minority stake in the local company.

“KKR is a responsible firm,” Rubenstein said Friday at the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) meeting in Washington. “I don’t think they are going to do anything that would make anybody worry.”

Nature’s Bounty, which also produces nutritional supplements, is among Long Island’s largest employers, with 2,100 workers at multiple facilities in Suffolk County.

The company’s brands include vitamin brand Nature’s Bounty and supplements brand Puritan's Pride, as well as Sundown Naturals, Solgar, Osteo Bi-Flex, Ester-C, MET-Rx, Pure Protein, Balance, Body Fortress and Organic Dr.

Carlyle purchased the company, formerly known as NBTY, in 2010 for $3.8 billion.

“Private equity firms are not famous for holding things,” Rubenstein said Friday. “Every private equity firm does the best they can to make the company valuable…You have a fresh set of eyes and ears, and then they sell it to somebody else, and they try to make it more valuable. It’s not uncommon for one private equity firm to sell things to another private equity firm.”

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