“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 structure while securing the infusion of capital we need to power our growth initiatives.”
“KeHE has significant scale, a differentiated supply chain and 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 became the first mainstream private equity firm to earn its B Corporation certification. KeHE became the first food distributor to earn the B Corporation certification credential in 2016 and remains one of the largest organizations to hold this designation.
“We see many exciting opportunities in this large and growing sector,” said 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.”
BMO Capital Markets acted as exclusive financial advisor to KeHE. Winston & Strawn LLP provided legal guidance to complete the agreement.
With its nationwide distribution network, KeHE provides natural and organic, specialty and fresh products to chain and independent grocery and natural food stores and other specialty product retailers throughout North America. KeHE is an employee-owned, B Corporation certified company with more than 5,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada.