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Acquisition Activity: Start the Count

At what pace will consolidation continue in the foodservice equipment and supplies industry this year? Too soon to tell, but the race resumed in January with three key developments: Edward Don & Company acquired Smith & Greene Company, Franke Foodservice Systems purchased Facility Solutions, and Hospitality Reps Inc. became part of Finn Foodservice.

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Smith & Greene, a Kent, Wash.-based foodservice equipment and supplies dealer, will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Edward Don & Company, a Woodridge, Ill.-based foodservice equipment and supplies dealership. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Brad Smith and Garrett Mullen will serve as co-presidents of Smith & Greene. Smith & Greene reported annual revenues of $78.5 million in 2016, making it the 25th largest foodservice equipment and supplies dealer in the country, according to FE&S’ 2017 Distribution Giants Study.

This deal represents Edward Don & Company’s second acquisition since Vestar Capital Partners made an equity investment in the company in March 2017. In November 2017, Edward Don & Company acquired Atlanta Fixture.

In addition, in December Emerson agreed to acquire Cooper-Atkins, a manufacturer of temperature management and environmental measurement devices and wireless monitoring solutions for foodservice and other industries. Headquartered in Middlefield, Conn., Cooper-Atkins is a privately owned company with approximately 150 employees, and has offices and operations in Ohio, Florida and Singapore.

Over the course of the past year, the foodservice equipment and supplies industry has seen a spate of merger and acquisition activity, specifically among the top 100 dealers. For example, in February 2018 TriMark USA, the industry’s largest dealer by sales volume according to FE&S’ 2017 Distribution Giants Study, acquired Hockenbergs. Then in August, private equity firm Centerbridge Partners acquired TriMark from Warburg Pincus.

In addition, Singer Equipment Company, an Elverson, Pa.-based foodservice equipment and supplies dealers, continued its migration down the Atlantic Coast with acquisitions of Ashland Equipment in September and Facilities Services in December. And Great Lakes West purchased Kessenich’s, a Wisconsin-based dealership.

While some dealers remain active on the acquisition trail, others continue to pursue nontraditional opportunities. Take, for example, the joint office opened by B&G Restaurant Supply and Johnson-Lancaster & Associates in September. This office goes to market as Eastern B&G Food Service Equipment and includes foodservice professionals from thee different dealerships.

Given last year’s frantic M&A activity in the foodservice equipment world and the fast start to 2018, it seems as if consolidation will remain a factor in the industry for the foreseeable future.