GS Foods Adds On Again

GS Foods Group, a portfolio company of Highview Capital and A&M Capital Partners, has acquired School Lunch Products.

School Lunch Products (SLP), led by President Mike Fackler, is a K-12 foodservice distribution company serving school districts in Shafter, California (located north of Bakersfield) with commodity and commercial food products.

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.

Gold Star is a food distributor to more than 4,300 K-12 schools in 1,000 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.

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, and snacks.

GS Foods Group is led by CEO Sean Leer and is headquartered near Los Angeles in Ontario, California. “By integrating SLP – a company that shares our mission to meet and exceed the needs of school districts – GS Foods is taking another step forward in our efforts to create a coordinated, national nutrition supply chain,” said Mr. Leer. “We are excited to combine our deep industry experience with SLP’s operations, ultimately providing even more value and expanded opportunities to the communities they’ve served for over a decade.”

In January 2021, GS Foods acquired family-owned and operated Fresno Produce, a provider of fruits and vegetables, spice and salsa blends, and guacamole to schools and restaurants located in California’s Central Valley; and Hayes Distributing, a distributor of snacks, foods and beverages to northern California schools. Hayes is based north of Oakland in Benicia, California.

“GS Foods continues to illustrate its leadership and distinct capabilities in school nutrition and other specialized foodservice sectors,” said Steve Russell, a managing director at Highview. “Continued partnerships with companies like SLP contribute to the growth of GS Foods – allowing us to bring its expertise to additional markets and build a national nutrition system for the future.”

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 | June 3, 2021

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