The vegetable garden at Annie's Fifth Street headquarters in September. Photo: Patrick Nagel

Annie’s Inc, the maker of organic mac & cheese and cheddar bunnies which moved its headquarters to Berkeley earlier this year, filed yesterday with the SEC for an initial public offering that could value raise the company up to $100 million. According to the S-1 filing, Annie’s had sales of $117.6 million in fiscal 2011 and income of $15.1 million.

Annie’s is number one in sales in the organic and natural market for mac & cheese, snack crackers, fruit snacks and graham crackers. It has 125 products in its range, which it sells in more than 25,000 retail locations. Over the last five years, Annie’s has had compound annual growth of over 15%. According to its filing, the organic and natural market has been growing — even in the poor economy of recent years — at over 12% annually.

Annie’s was founded by Annie Withey in Connecticut in 1989, but moved to Napa in 2004. Solera Capital, a New York-based private equity group, invested $20 million in Annie’s in 2002 and now owns 90.5% of the company. According to the filing, Solera will continue to have a controlling interest in Annie’s after the IPO. Another private equity group, Najeri Ventures, owns a further 6.5% of the company. CEO John Foraker owns 1.9%.

The headquarters move to Berkeley this year gave the company “access to a better talent pool”, according to marketing director Aimee Sands. Annie’s leases 34,000 sq ft on Fifth Street near Cedar.

The IPO will probably make Annie’s the second largest public company in Berkeley, after biotech group Dynavax Technologies, which has a market capitalization of over $400 million. The only other public listed company headquartered in Berkeley is XOMA, another biotech firm, with a market cap of just over $50 million.

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...