M&A Activity Was Brisk In 2017

After a remarkable spate of consolidation in 2016, merger, sale and acquisition activity in the foodservice E&S arena continued to be robust in ’17. Big dealers, fueled in part by private equity capital, continued to buy other big dealers. And there were deals among dealers in the next ranks too.

We also saw many more manufacturer deals in ’17, with Middleby getting very active again after a bit of a pause after acquiring Follett in ’16. But other manufacturers, including Electrolux, Vollrath, Montague, the p.e. company behind G.E.T., and others also made key acquisitions or mergers. On the other hand, activity in the parts distribution and service arena was relatively quiet last year, though p.e. company Audax, which previously owned TriMark USA, bought Ecolab’s Equipment Care unit.

The reasons for all this consolidation remain the same: valuations continue high, interest rates on borrowed money remain low, and many multigenerational family-run businesses need to cash out. The result is an industry that continues to consolidate at a very rapid pace at every level.

For the record, here are the ’17 deals we found in our news archives, in more or less chronological order. Please let us know if we missed anything.

Dealers and Distributors:
• Richard’s Restaurant Supply acquired the Loubat Equipment name.
• TriMark USA bought Hockenbergs.
• Edward Don & Co. sold a stake to p.e. company Vestar Capital Partners.
• BHS Foodservice Solutions (Buffalo Hotel Supply, etc.) bought H. Weiss.
• Blue Point Capital acquired Guitech Services, a service company, and merged it with Russell Hendrix.
• P.e. company Trivest Partners merged B&J Food Service Equipment and Beltram Foodservice Group and renamed the combined entity BJ Beltram.
• Great Lakes West purchased Kessenich’s Ltd.
• Progressive Distributors bought Hew’s (Cayman Islands).
• Centerbridge Partners bought TriMark USA from Warburg Pincus.
• Singer Equipment bought Ashland Equipment.
• Edward Don bought Atlanta Fixture.
• Singer Equipment acquired Facilities Services Inc.

• Imperial Brown acquired Artic Temp.
• Electrolux Professional bought Grindmaster Cecilware.
• Franke Foodservice bought fabricator Sertek.
• De’Longhi (Italy) bought 40% of Swiss commercial coffee machine maker Eversys.
• Vollrath bought Belleco.
• Middleby purchased industrial baking equipment maker Burford.
• Cornerstone Foodservice Group (also owns Spring USA) bought Lloyd Pans.
• Montague bought Turbo Coil.
• Middleby bought Sveba Dahlen (in addition to ovens, also includes the Varimixer line).
• Middleby acquired QualServ Solutions.
• Bettcher Industries, an ESOP, recapitalized through Morgenthaler Private Equity Partners; ESOP now minority partner.
• Van Berkel Int’l. (related but separate from ITW’s Berkel) bought Omas SpA.
• Mahoney Environmental bought Waste Oil Recyclers.
• Middleby bought Globe Food Equipment.
• Emerson bought Cooper-Atkins.
• Olympus Partners acquired Winco, merged it with G.E.T. Enterprises.

Parts and Service Companies; others:
• Audax, p.e. company which previously owned TriMark USA, bought Ecolab’s Equipment Care division (formerly GCS).
• Consulting firm Clevenger Associates bought MVP Services Group.
• Acosta bought rep firm Summit Marketing.

And just for the record, since the beginning of ’18:
• Franke Foodservice acquired Facility Solutions Inc.
• Edward Don purchased Smith & Greene.
• Cambro bought Thermal Bags by Ingrid.

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