AUA Private Equity Partners has completed a recapitalization of Associated Foods Holdings in partnership with the company’s owners, Harry Laufer and Ira Gober. Messrs. Laufer and Gober, Associated’s co-Chief Executive Officers, will continue to lead the company through its next stage of growth with AUA Equity.
“We are pleased to partner with Harry Laufer and Ira Gober who are true icons in the New York City supermarket industry. Associated has an outstanding business model and Harry and Ira have done a tremendous job building the company over the past thirty years. We look forward to partnering with them to help grow the company and increase its profitability,” said Andy Unanue, Managing Partner of AUA Equity.
Associated is a specialty distributor of grocery products to branded independent (predominately Hispanic owned) retail supermarkets in the New York metropolitan area. Associated provides grocery distribution, financing, marketing and promotional services to approximately 250 independently owned and operated grocery stores, which typically carry the “Associated” or “Compare” trade name. The company was founded in 1954 and is based in Hewlett, NY (www.associatedsupermarkets.com).
“This is a quintessential investment that fits squarely within AUA Equity’s wheelhouse – a Hispanic-oriented and family-owned business. Our investment team’s complementary skill set and appreciation, understanding, and know-how of the industry allowed us to successfully consummate this recapitalization. I am proud to be connected to a company that has done so much for the New York City Hispanic supermarket community,” said Mr. Unanue.
In addition to Mr. Unanue, the AUA Equity deal team was led by Partners Steven Flyer and David Benyaminy, Vice Presidents Kyce Chihi and Nancy Rocha and Associate Jack Lin.
AUA Equity’s strategic partnership with Associated’s owners and management team will allow the company to accelerate its growth by adding new stores to its existing network and increase its financing capacity to its customers for remodeling and expansion.
“Over the past few years we have been thinking about bringing in a strategic investor and I believe that we have now found the right partner to help accelerate our growth plans. We are excited to be in partnership with the AUA Equity team. They understand our Hispanic customer base and their collaborative approach has shown me that they will add true value,” said Ira Gober.
“We have known Andy and his father Joe for many years and we believe that Andy’s experience in the Hispanic market will allow Associated to continue to successfully expand our presence in New York City and other markets,” said Harry Laufer.
AUA Private Equity Partners makes equity investments in companies in the consumer, media and business services sectors with a particular focus on Hispanic-oriented companies and family-owned businesses located in the United States. The firm invests from $10 million to $30 million of equity in companies that generate $3 million to $15 million in EBITDA. AUA Equity makes control and significant minority investments in a variety of transactions and structures including: traditional leveraged buyouts; growth equity; recapitalizations; and roll-up strategies. The firm is based in New York (www.auaequity.com).
© 2013 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 3-6-13