TowerBrook Invests in Employee-owned KeHE

TowerBrook Invests in Employee-owned KeHE

TowerBrook Capital Partners has made an investment in KeHE Distributors to replace a longtime minority shareholder of the company.

KeHE is a distributor of natural and organic products to chain and independent grocery and natural food stores across North America. The company has 5,500 employees and operates 15 distribution centers with a headquarters in Naperville, IL. KeHE was founded in 1953 and converted into an employee-owned company in 2001 (

“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 & organic and fresh foods,” said CEO Brandon Barnholt. “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, a managing director at TowerBrook. “We are pleased to partner with KeHE to help drive continued momentum and growth in the business.”

TowerBrook makes investments in North American and European companies across an array of industries.  The firm has offices in New York, London, Madrid and Munich (

TowerBrook recently became the first mainstream private equity firm to earn its B Corporation certification. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and sustainability. KeHE became the first food distributor to earn the B Corporation certification credential in 2016.

“We see many exciting opportunities in this large and growing sector,” added Andrew Rolfe, a 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 was the financial advisor to KeHE and Kirkland & Ellis provided legal services to TowerBrook.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | May 20, 2019

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