Cox Enterprises has acquired indoor farming company BrightFarms, the two companies announced today via press release. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The companies noted that the acquisition will be key to helping Cox Enterprises build out a “multibillion cleantech business” by 2030.
Multi-industry conglomerate Cox is in the midst of expanding from its core lines of business (communications and automotive), hence its goals related to cleantech innovation. The company says it is currently investing in and/or acquiring “clean resource efficient businesses that provide sustainable energy, food, and water for the rapidly growing global population.”
Cox nabbed a majority stake in BrightFarms in 2020, though the two companies’ relationship goes back to 2018. Speaking in today’s press release, Steve Bradley, vice president of cleantech for Cox Enterprises, noted, “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.”
BrightFarms operates a network of greenhouses that use hydroponics, natural sunlight, and a proprietary software system to grow leafy greens. The company announced its fifth greenhouse earlier this year and more recently said it would open an “innovation and research hub.” Ten percent of the company is now dedicated to developing “patented growing solutions to be used across BrightFarms entire network to improve crop yield, flavor, and other factors. The company says that by the end of the year, its leafy greens will be available at over 3,500 stores.
BrightFarms said joining Cox will allow it to scale more rapidly. As part of the acquisition, BrightFarms will grow its physical footprint from 15 acres of crop today to more than 140 by 2025. This growth will, the company says, let it reach roughly two-thirds of all U.S. consumers. Additionally, BrightFarms will build out multiple 30-acre greenhouses and increase the number of stores, restaurants, and food distributors it serves.