Cox Enterprises Acquires BrightFarms

08/17/2021

Cox Enterprises announced the acquisition of BrightFarms, an indoor farming company and provider of locally grown packaged salads. The move solidifies BrightFarms’ leadership in the indoor agriculture space and provides a strong, stable foundation committed to accelerating growth with partner retailers.

The relationship between BrightFarms and Cox dates back to 2018, and Cox has held a majority stake in the company since 2020. The transaction aligns with Cox’s mission to build a healthier and more sustainable future. To date, Cox has invested more than $1 billion in sustainable businesses and technologies, and BrightFarms will play a key role in helping Cox reach its goal of building a multibillion-dollar cleantech business by 2030.

“BrightFarms is a perfect example of our Cox Cleantech strategy – positively impacting the world through profitable, mission-driven businesses,” said Steve Bradley, vice president of cleantech for Cox Enterprises. “Over the years, our enthusiasm for BrightFarms and the opportunity to transform the industry has increased tremendously, which led us to want to play a larger role in what they're doing.”

Fueled by a world-class model and growing system, BrightFarms plans to leverage its market advantage and relationships with the nation’s largest retailers to bring local indoor leafy greens to more than two thirds of the population by 2025. As part of its expansion plan, BrightFarms plans to construct a national network of new high-tech farms that will accelerate the salad industry’s transition to indoor farming. The company will also increase investment in talent, research and innovation as it expands its product portfolio within the salad category and beyond.

"BrightFarms has built the most advanced network of local indoor farms in the nation. Being part of the Cox team will allow us to scale more rapidly, transforming the salad industry for American consumers," said Steve Platt, CEO of BrightFarms. "As we embark on this new chapter, the BrightFarms team extends gratitude to our founder, Paul Lightfoot, for his bold vision and to Catalyst Investors for their early and unwavering support."

BrightFarms currently operates five farms in Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Illinois. Last month, BrightFarms acquired lēf Farms, an indoor grower based in Loudon, N. H.  The company plans to expand lēf’s facility into a 14-acre indoor growing hub for New England supermarkets.  

While most salads are grown in California and shipped across the U.S., BrightFarms grows and delivers its greens to local supermarkets as soon as 24-hours from harvest for fresher, tastier and more nutritious salads. Amid the growing threat of drought in the American West, the company’s sustainable hydroponic indoor farms yield 10 times more leafy greens per acre than growing in a field and use 80% less water, 90% less land and 95% less shipping fuel than long-distance field grown produce.

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