You've all heard the news – P&G has purchased New Chapter. That's the story, but our personal story is so much more. We felt moved to address our local community in a more direct way. We appreciate that you may not agree with it, and that indeed, you may be skeptical about it, but we would like you to better understand what brought us to this announcement. Unfortunately Paul's statement in the Reformer that this was" a dream come true" was misconstrued to imply that we were seeking a sale from the beginning. That was not the case. Paul's statement was a reference to the dream of mainstream acceptance of herbal therapeutics and to the platform P&G provides for bringing our products to people all over the world.
New Chapter is our child in many ways. We started in the 70's with a health food store and a healing mission. We recognized the healing power of herbs and whole food supplementation at a time when they were yet to be discovered by most, even within our own industry. We wanted to share our enthusiasm for herbal healing with the world. With that vision, and our success, we grew our company from one that started in our home, moved to Main Street and High Street, and then to our current headquarters on Technology Drive.
That growth happened because of a passionate drive our mission instilled in us and our incredibly talented workforce, along with the beneficial results that come from products formulated to deliver the wisdom of nature. And, it also happened because we were able to raise capital along the way.
From the start we have had investors, first family and friends, then dedicated business partners and inspired individuals who believed in us, as well as financial firms. Those investors provided the money we needed to support continued growth and innovation in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Although we as founders are most identified with New Chapter, the company is owned by about 125 shareholders, with no one of them, including us, holding a majority of the shares. Over the past year, our company again sought growth capital. In that process we found that a number of firms were interested in a potential acquisition. Our board, whose primary responsibility is to the economic interests of the shareholders, established a process to review all possible transactions. New Chapter is a Delaware corporation and this was their duty under the law.
The company received more interest than ever expected from both corporations and private equity firms. As different firms looked at New Chapter, we both felt a lot of trepidation. Some would have "integrated" us into their existing operations, meaning loss of jobs, some would have bought us and then after a period of time, resold us. Enter Procter & Gamble, the offer recommended by our Board of Directors to our shareholders. Like many of you, at first this was hard to imagine but through many conversations about how they would manage our business, we reached the conclusion that their desire to "do no harm" to New Chapter is real. They recognized our expertise in this category, which is now one of the fastest growing in the health care sector. They want to keep what we have. What we have is successful. Altering New Chapter would not be in their economic interest.
This transaction is much like that of Stonyfield Yogurt some years ago. Like Stonyfield within the Danone Corporation, New Chapter remains a stand-alone. New Chapter continues to be headquartered in Brattleboro, adhering to its product mission, formulation philosophy and workplace practices. Both of us will remain actively and enthusiastically involved. We consider this opportunity with Procter & Gamble an extraordinary one; we have been offered the chance to deliver our healing mission to countless more people who will benefit from our products and to maintain the integrity of who we are as a company. We simply couldn't ask for more.
We hope you will not jump to conclusions and will instead give this venture the time it needs to prove itself. We have a high degree of confidence and we, and our diligent staff, will be vigilant to assure New Chapter remains faithful to its founding principles.
Paul and Barbi Schulick