Merisant files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

January 15, 2009

Merisant Worldwide, the tabletop sweetener company, and its U.S. affiliates have filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in order to restructure its balance sheet. The company’s U.S. and global businesses will continue normal operations. In addition, the company states that it will continue to support the current brands and launch PureVia in partnership with PepsiCo.

“During the last four years, we took aggressive measures that succeeded in cutting costs and making Merisant more efficient as well as building a platform for future growth,” said Paul Block, Chairman and CEO of Merisant. “Yet despite these efforts, recent turmoil in the financial and credit markets has made it impossible for us to refinance our debt, without which we cannot complete the restructuring of our business.”

Merisant has secured a $20 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing facility from Wayzata Investment Partners in order to ensure that is has adequate liquidity to operate while it restructures its debt. In addition to its Chapter 11 petitions, the company filed customary “first-day” motions (First-Day Motions) seeking Bankruptcy Court authorization to, among other things: incur and deploy the DIP financing; maintain its existing cash management system; pay certain pre-filing employee wages and otherwise maintain employee benefits; fulfill certain pre-filing vendor obligations; maintain utility services; pay certain outstanding taxes; and honor its customer programs in the ordinary course of business. The company anticipates that its First-Day Motions will be approved by the Bankruptcy Court in the early stages of its Chapter 11 proceeding.

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