GS Foods Group Acquires Fresno Produce
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GS Foods Group Acquires Fresno Produce

GS Foods Group, a portfolio company of Highview Capital and Alvarez & Marsal Capital Partners, has acquired family-owned and operated Fresno Produce.

Fresno Produce provides a wide range of fruits and vegetables, spice and salsa blends, and guacamole to schools and restaurants located in California’s Central Valley. The California-based company was founded in 1990 by David and Laura Miller and counted as one of its first customers the Fresno Unified School District which today includes more than 100 schools and over 73,000 students.

Highview and Alvarez & Marsal formed GS Foods Group in October 2019 to acquire Gold Star Foods from Castle Harlan, and then immediately merged the company with Good Source Solutions, a portfolio company of Highview. GS Foods Group is led by CEO Sean Leer.

Gold Star is a food distributor to more than 3,500 K-12 schools in 800 school districts across 13 states and provides more than 6.5 million meals daily. Many of these meals are provided through federal and state programs for breakfasts and lunches that include program-approved healthy ingredients. Gold Star purchases products from more than 600 food manufacturers and farms, and sells over 7,500 products comprised of refrigerated, frozen and dry menu items as well as fresh bread and produce. The company is headquartered near Los Angeles in Ontario, California.

Good Source Solutions is a specialty food distributor to the education, corrections and foodservice sectors. Good Source’s products focus on center-of-plate items including poultry, meats, pasta, fruits, vegetables, bakery items, beverages, appetizers, sides, and snacks. The company is headquartered north of San Diego in Carlsbad, California.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical role school nutrition programs play in feeding our communities, yet today the specialized foodservice distribution industry remains highly fragmented,” said Mr. Leer. “By partnering with like-minded companies such as Fresno Produce, GS Foods expands the reach of our expertise and takes another key step in establishing a coordinated, national school nutrition supply system. This allows us to better meet the diverse and increasing needs of our customers in California and beyond.”

“We continue to be impressed by GS Foods’ distribution capabilities and presence within the K-12 market, delivering outstanding customer service and product quality,” said Jack McCarthy, a senior managing director and a founder of A&M Capital Partners. “We believe that partnering with local and family-owned companies like Fresno Produce illustrates how GS Foods continues to expand its footprint and pioneer the establishment of a national supply system.”

Highview Capital, headquartered in Los Angeles, invests from $10 million to $125 million of equity in companies with revenues of $50 million to $500 million and EBITDA of $5 million to $50 million. Highview invests in many sectors and is effectively industry agnostic. The firm sources its capital from a $500 million evergreen fund and is backed by Karlin Asset Management, a Los Angeles-based investment company.

Greenwich, Connecticut-based Alvarez & Marsal Capital Partners makes control and significant minority investment of $40 million to $150 million in North American-based companies that have from $10 million to $75 million in EBITDA. Sectors of interest include business services, industrials, healthcare, consumer and retail, government services, financial services, and energy services.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | January 21, 2021

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