Investment firm buys majority stake in DPI Specialty Foods

by Eric Schroeder
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DPI Specialty Foods
DPI is one of the largest specialty food distributors in the United States, selling gourmet, ethnic, organic and better-for-you foods.

CHICAGO — Arbor Investments, whose portfolio of companies includes Mister Cookie Face and New French Bakery, has acquired a majority equity stake in Ontario, Calif.-based DPI Specialty Foods, Inc. from Dublin, Ireland-based Ornua Co-Operative Ltd. DPI is one of the largest specialty food distributors in the United States, selling gourmet, ethnic, organic and better-for-you foods to national, regional and independent retailers, quick-service restaurants and food service operators.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

DPI operates eight distribution centers across the United States and has approximately 1,800 employees and annual revenues in excess of $1 billion. Ornua will retain a minority equity interest in the company, and DPI’s existing senior management will continue to lead the organization.

Alan Weed, Arbor Investments
Alan Weed of Arbor Investments

“DPI has an impressive 30-year record of profitability driving customer sales growth through individualized programs that combine best-in-class product selection, logistics and merchandising with a highly-focused and flexible service model,” said Alan Weed of Arbor Investments. “With a diverse network of national and international vendors, DPI has the pulse of specialty food trends, particularly in the dynamic gourmet, perishable, specialty, natural, organic, local and ethnic foods categories that retail customers and discriminating consumers demand.”

Russ Blake, president and chief executive officer of DPI, said Arbor is a “hand-in-glove” fit with DPI.

“A unique specialty food product offering is the lifeblood of successful grocers,” Mr. Blake said. “DPI’s service-centric model, providing a full suite of individually-tailored solutions, sets us apart from our competitors.”

John Jordan, c.e.o. Europe and Latin America at Ornua Foods, said the sale of DPI is consistent with the company’s strategy of reallocating capital and assets to support continuing investments in enhanced routes to market for Irish dairy products through the company’s businesses across global markets.

“As we evaluated potential acquirers, Arbor and its exclusive focus and stellar reputation in the food and beverage industry stood out,” Mr. Jordan said. “We believe that Arbor is the optimal equity partner to drive continued growth at DPI.”

Founded in 1999, Arbor Investments has acquired or invested in over 44 food, beverage and related companies in North America. Current portfolio companies include Best Maid Cookie Co., Inc.; Concord Foods L.L.C.; Fieldbrook Foods Corp.; Hudson Baking Co., L.L.C.; Mister Cookie Face; New French Bakery, Inc.; and Rice Garden Inc.
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