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Lipari Foods acquired by private equity firm

Wholesaler aims to continue steady expansion

Distributor Lipari Foods has been acquired by Miami-based private equity firm H.I.G. Capital.

Financial terms of the deal, announced Tuesday, weren’t disclosed. Under the transaction, H.I.G. purchased Westport, Conn.-based Sterling Investment Partners’ interests in Lipari Foods Operating Co. LLC.

Specializing in perimeter-of-the-store, specialty and branded food products, Lipari serves more than 6,300 customers and 13,000 retail locations across 14 states, primarily in the Midwest. The Warren, Mich.-based company generates annual sales of about $1 billion. Its 25,000 products span the deli, bakery, dairy, specialty retail, seafood, packaging, confections, ethnic and organic categories.

H.I.G. said it’s partnering with the Lipari family and the current management team to expand the food wholesaler’s distribution and manufacturing platform, which operates from a 725,000-square-foot facility just outside Detroit.

“We are very excited about partnering with H.I.G. to support Lipari’s strategic growth plan,” Thom Lipari, president and CEO of Lipari Foods, said in a statement. “The company continues to have numerous opportunities to expand, and H.I.G.’s experience and resources — particularly around M&A — will help us continue our successful growth trajectory. We remain committed to providing outstanding service to our longstanding, blue-chip customers.”

During 2018, Lipari made three acquisitions: specialty deli wholesaler Heagy Foods in Lancaster, Pa.; Mediterranean food business Jerusalem Foods in Dearborn, Mich.; and the cheese cutting and packaging business of distributor Jim’s Cheese in Waterloo, Wis.

“Lipari is an impressive platform that has grown significantly over the years by expanding upon its midwestern roots,” said Justin Reyna, managing director at H.I.G. “We are very excited to partner with the Lipari management team, which has a proven track record of profitable growth. The company’s significant customer value proposition, diverse product portfolio and unparalleled distribution capabilities uniquely position it to capitalize on growth opportunities within the food distribution, import and manufacturing markets.

“We look forward to supporting Lipari and investing in both organic and acquisition-driven growth in its next stage of evolution,” Reyna added.

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