An affiliate of private equity investment firm H.I.G. Capital (H.I.G.) has acquired from Sterling Investment Partners and certain other selling shareholders, their interests in Warren, Michigan-based Lipari Foods Operating Co. H.I.G. is partnering with the Lipari family and the current management team to grow the company’s distribution and manufacturing platform. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1963, Lipari is a leading distributor of perimeter-of-the-store, specialty and branded food products. It serves more than 6,300 customers that operate 13,000 retail locations in 14 states. The company’s products span the deli, bakery, dairy, specialty retail, seafood, packaging, confections, ethnic and organic categories, providing customers with a broad selection of largely perishable on-trend, perimeter-of-the-store and specialty products.
Lipari Foods generates approximately $1 billion of net sales annually, serving its customers via its state-of-the-art 725,000-s.f. distribution and food manufacturing facility just outside Detroit.
“We are very excited about partnering with H.I.G. to support Lipari’s strategic growth plan,” said Thom Lipari, president and CEO of Lipari Foods. “The company continues to have numerous opportunities to expand and HIG’s experience and resources, particularly around M&A, will help us continue our successful growth trajectory. We remain committed to providing outstanding service to our longstanding, blue-chip customers.”
“Lipari is an impressive platform that has grown significantly over the years by expanding upon its midwestern roots,” said H.I.G. Managing Director Justin Reyna. “We are very excited to partner with the Lipari management team, which has a proven track record of profitable growth. The company’s significant customer value proposition, diverse product portfolio and unparalleled distribution capabilities uniquely position it to capitalize on growth opportunities within the food distribution, import and manufacturing markets. We look forward to supporting Lipari and investing in both organic and acquisition-driven growth in its next stage of evolution.”
Lipari Foods has made substantial investments in its manufacturing and importing capabilities, which both support the distribution operation. It also has made several acquisitions of its own in recent months, including Pennsylvania-based Heagy Foods and the Guernsey’s Gift brand; Wisconsin-based Jim’s Cheese; and the Mediterranean food business of Dearborn-based Jerusalem Foods, including the Sahtein brand.
Lipari Foods Founder Jim Lipari began his career delivering barbecue sauce from the back of his Buick station wagon. Lipari Foods has grown to employ 1,500 associates today and its offerings have expanded from one barbecue sauce to more than 25,000 items.