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The Original Brownie Brittle founder to appear on Lifetime’s new ‘Supermarket Superstar’ TV show

BY Jason Owen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — This summer, Sheila G. Mains, founder and CEO of Brownie Brittle LLC, and creator of Sheila G’s Original Brownie Brittle snacks, will join Lifetime Network as she makes a guest appearance on its all-new reality series "Supermarket Superstar" (10:30pm EDT).

Each episode will follow three home cooks who believe they have the next great product that deserves to hit supermarket shelves. On Thursday, August 15th, Mains will appear as a special guest mentor to these aspiring entrepreneurs. The home cooks will pitch their food products to a panel of industry experts for that once-in-a-lifetime chance to have their creation launched in grocery stores across the nation.

"I’m thrilled to hear pitches for exciting new gourmet food product ideas from the contestants on this season’s Supermarket Superstar," said Mains. "I’ve been in their shoes, growing my brownie business from our start in my home kitchen to our eventual success with Brownie Brittle snacks on store shelves around the world."

Supermarket Superstar gives home cooks the chance at fulfilling their dream of having their food product distributed nationwide. The show’s contestants have sacrificed a lot to take part in this unique experience and only a home cook’s product will end up winning the competition. Behind every great recipe is a great story just like that of Mains.

Mains started her brownie company in 1992 after losing her executive position with an industrial advertising agency. Refusing to be just another Friday afternoon casualty, Mains embarked on her "Plan B (Brownie)." Armed with her passion for sweet treats and scrumptious samples, Mains began selling her brownies to local corporations and retail stores. In 1994, Mains’ brownies were discovered by one of the executive chefs at a major theme park.

When the economy took a downturn in 2009, Mains found herself in need of another "Plan B (Brownie)" or in this case "Plan BB (Brownie Brittle)." Americans were no longer saving money for their next theme park vacation; they were instead trying to save their homes. So, Mains took her love of the crisp brownie edges to market.

Using the wisdom from her brownie business and Brownie Brittle snack brand, Mains will coach the contestants by offering tips and tricks that are unique to the specialty food production world. The winner of each episode will win $10,000 cash and $100,000 worth of product development, and the season finale winner’s products will hit shelves at a major grocer nationwide.

Since April of 2011, Sheila G’s Original Brownie Brittle snack has been available on thousands of stores shelves in multiple countries and has been decorated with numerous awards. The top two awards include "The Best New Snack Product of 2012" from the National Confectionery Sales Association and finalist in the Sweets & Snacks Expo’s 2012 "Most Innovative Products Award."  Available in chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip, salted caramel and toffee crunch flavors, Brownie Brittle snacks are available at major retailers.


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PwC report: Retailer, consumer M&A activity could increase for remainder of 2013

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Despite a slowdown in U.S. retail and consumer merger and acquisition activity in second quarter 2013, there are signs that M&A activity could experience an uptick for the remainder of 2013, according to PwC’s U.S. retail and consumer deals insights Q2 2013 report released on Thursday.

In the second quarter of 2013, there were a total of 21 deals worth $50 million or more in the retail and consumer sector, accounting for $5.4 billion in deal value, a 49% decrease in volume and 90% decrease in value from the 41 deals worth $40.5 billion during second quarter 2012, according to the report. The decrease in deal activity is primarily a result of the lack of large deals in Q2 of 2013 compared with the prior year, during which time there were several large deals. There was only one mega deal (worth more than $1 billion) in the second quarter, as opposed to a trend of four successive quarters with five or more mega deals. Sequentially, deal activity in the retail and consumer sector declined, with the middle market also seeing declines, partially because of the lingering effect of the abnormally higher deal volume during Q4 of 2012 due to the impending fiscal cliff, along with the several mega deals seen in the first quarter of 2013, according to PwC.

"Coming off the heels of one of the largest retail and consumer deals in history in the first quarter of 2013, the declines we saw in the second quarter will likely be temporary as the pipeline for deals resets from the flurry of activity we’ve seen in the last few quarters," stated Leanne Sardiga, partner and PwC’s U.S. retail and consumer deals leader. "The second half of 2013 looks promising for M&A activity in the industry given the recent pick-up in businesses starting to come to market for sale, although price expectations and seller timelines continue to be a challenge."

Private equity activity was slightly above historical levels in second quarter 2013, as PE buyers continued to invest in the retail and consumer sector, comprising 24% of deal volume and 38% of deal value, which is relatively consistent with historical averages of 27% and 30%, respectively.

The trend towards omnichannel retailing continues to contribute to deal activity in the sector as retailers look at opportunities to transform their business and capabilities, focusing on innovation. Key activity in the omnichannel space in the second quarter included several acquisitions of ecommerce retail service companies. And PwC noted that it expects to see increased activity in this area as investors see opportunity to gain a competitive advantage through technology for data analytics.

Retail and consumer IPO activity continues the momentum seen in the first quarter, far outpacing levels seen in 2012. Total proceeds in the second quarter of 2013 were $2.1 billion, up 161% from the second quarter of 2012 (proceeds of $795 million) and up 18% from the first quarter of 2013 (proceeds of $1.8 billion). Average deal size continued to increase in the second quarter as well, with an average deal size of $345 million for the six IPOs completed in the quarter, compared with $292 million for the six in the first quarter of 2013. According to PwC, in the overall IPO markets, R&C had the largest one-day average returns of any sector.

"While second-quarter activity was relatively slow compared to the activity we’ve been seeing, the deals announced remain consistent with themes PwC has highlighted previously, including private equity investment in retail and activity in nonstore retailing. Regionally, we expect to see continued cross-border retail activity as companies try to access certain demographics in the global marketplace," Sardiga said.

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FDA grants orphan drug status to Eisai’s investigational compound for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

BY Jason Owen

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. — Eisai Inc., announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted orphan drug designation to its investigational compound (E7777) for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. E7777 is designed to have an improved purity profile and manufacturing process. It is currently in a pivotal trial intended to support its submission for approval.

The Orphan Drug Act allows FDA to grant orphan status to a drug which has the potential for the treatment, diagnosis, or prevention of a rare disease/disorder that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.

CTCL is a rare type of cancer that begins in the white blood cells and attacks the skin. It is one of several types of lymphoma collectively called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


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