KeHE Distributors has completed a comprehensive review of possible strategic capital partners and has announced that from its search, international management firm TowerBrook Capital Partners has become one of the company’s shareholders, replacing a longtime minority shareholder. The news comes at a time of growth for KeHE, with TowerBrook committing additional capital for future growth.
“We have been very deliberate in selecting a partner that believes in our mission and values as well as our strategic vision to be the next generation distributor in specialty, natural, and organic and fresh foods,” said Brandon Barnholt, KeHE’s President and CEO. “This arrangement allows KeHE to maintain our majority employee stock ownership (ESOP) ownership structure, while securing the infusion of capital we need to power our growth initiatives.”
According to a press release, KeHE’s expertise in bringing new and emerging brands to market, a national distribution network in the U.S. and Canada, and the unique ability to help brands and retailers grow positions KeHE to thrive in the emerging environment.
“KeHE has significant scale, a differentiated supply chain, an experienced leadership team with both a strong track record, and a compelling vision for the future of food distribution,” said Michael Recht, Managing Director at TowerBrook. “We are pleased to partner with KeHE to help drive continued momentum and growth in the business.”
TowerBrook recently earned its B Corporation certification, which KeHE earned back in 2016. Both companies were some of the first to achieve this certification in their respective industries.
“We see many exciting opportunities in this large and growing sector,” added Andrew Rolfe, Managing Director at TowerBrook. “Responsible investing is also an integral part of how we work. We are thrilled to partner with KeHE, as they share our commitment to values such as diversity, inclusion, service, transparency and sustainability.”
During the negotiations and search, BMO Capital Markets acted as exclusive financial advisor and Winston & Strawn provided legal guidance to KeHE.
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