CD&R Partners with Cheney Brothers

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has made an investment in Cheney Brothers, a family-owned and operated regional food distributor.

In partnership with CD&R, the Cheney family remain majority owners of the company, while Byron Russell, grandson of company founder Joe Cheney and CEO since 1981, remains as chairman and CEO.

“This partnership with CD&R supports our mission to continuously enhance our product offering, innovate, and provide exceptional service to our valued customers,” said Mr. Russell. “CD&R’s extensive experience in our industry and the vision we share for the future of the company give me great confidence in Cheney Brothers’ growth prospects and the benefits that we expect it to bring to our employees and the customers we serve.”

With more than 50,000 SKUs, Cheney Brothers is one of the largest foodservice distributors in the Southeast, with annual sales of more than $2 billion. The company’s customers include independent restaurants, restaurant chains, hotels, country clubs, institutional groups, and other foodservice operators.

Cheney Brothers, headquartered near Palm Beach in Riviera Beach, Florida, has been family-owned and operated since 1925 and has a combined 1.5-million-square feet of distribution space at 13 facilities. The investment from CD&R will be used to fund the company’s continued expansion across its core markets including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

“We have great respect for the company that Byron and his family have built and the long-term value they have created for customers, suppliers, and employees,” said Kenneth Giuriceo, a partner at CD&R. “As a firm, we have been investing in market-leading food distribution businesses like Cheney Brothers for 25 years, and we look forward to working closely with the management team, sharing our expertise, and supporting the company’s continued success.”

New York and London-based CD&R invests in European and US-based businesses. Since founding in 1978, the firm has invested $30 billion in 93 companies across a range of industries including numerous consumer health and medical device businesses.

Morgan Stanley & Co. was the financial advisor to Cheney Brothers on this transaction.

Private Equity Professional | July 28, 2020

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