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Image credit: BrightFarms

Brief: Cox Enterprises acquires indoor ag startup BrightFarms

August 19, 2021

  • US indoor ag startup BrightFarms has been wholly acquired by media and communications conglomerate Cox Enterprises. Financial details were not disclosed.
  • Atlanta-based Cox had been BrightFarms’ majority shareholder since it led the startup’s $100 million Series E round in October 2020.
  • BrightFarms operates five tech-enabled greenhouse facilities across the Eastern Seaboard and Upper Midwest of the US.
  • The New York-based company said that, post-acquisition, it will expand “within the salad category and beyond” and build a “national network of new high-tech farms that will accelerate the salad industry’s transition to indoor farming.”
  • “Being part of the Cox team will allow us to scale more rapidly, transforming the salad industry for American consumers,” BrightFarms CEO Steve Platt said in a statement.

Why it matters:

Cox’s BrightFarms buyout is the latest in a flurry of M&A activity in the indoor ag space. Last week, US-headquartered Kalera said it had agreed a €130 million ($153 million) deal to purchase Germany’s &ever; while iUNU — which develops tech for use in greenhouses — acquired pest management firm CropWalk.

Last month, BrightFarms itself acquired New Hampshire-based Lēf Farms, which it plans to turn into “a 14-acre indoor growing hub for New England supermarkets.”

Greenhouse operator AppHarvest acquired ag robotics startup Root AI earlier this year, and recently invested in Saudi Arabian saltwater farming company Red Sea Farms [disclosure: AFN‘s parent company, AgFunder, invested in Root AI.]

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