|13 February, 2020

Bahrain's Investcorp acquires US food distributor

Fortune distributes fresh seafood, frozen seafood and gourmet foods

MANAMA: Bahrain-based Investcorp, a leader in alternative investment, said that it has acquired Fortune International, a leading super-regional speciality distributor of seafood and gourmet food products.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Fortune was founded in 2001 by chief executive Sean O’Scannlain, who will continue to lead the company and maintain a significant ownership stake. The company has cultivated a loyal and diverse customer base through its commitment to sourcing the freshest, highest quality products and delivering industry-leading service levels. With a strong founder-led management team, Fortune has grown to become one of the largest seafood and specialty food distributors in the US.

Fortune distributes fresh seafood, frozen seafood and gourmet foods, offering more than 12,000 SKUs to fine-dining restaurants, grocery stores, hotels and other customers, primarily across the Midwestern US.

The company has continually expanded its geographic footprint by acquiring specialty distributors in strategic markets. In order to maintain operational flexibility, Investcorp and Mr O’Scannlain have capitalised the company with a conservative capital structure to fund a deliberate acquisition strategy and further accelerate Fortune’s geographic expansion.

“Specialty food service distribution in the US is a highly fragmented, resilient and growing $40 billion market,” said Hazem Ben-Gacem, co-chief executive at Investcorp.

“We believe that Fortune is well-positioned to capture significant share with its unique platform as a scaled, specialty seafood enterprise delivering superior product quality and service across a wide breadth of products. We have a long history of partnering with founder-led businesses, and we look forward to working with Sean and his talented team over the coming years.”

Mr O’Scannlain stated: “We are proud of the business we have built over nearly two decades and we are excited to embark on this next phase. We are confident that Investcorp is the ideal firm to serve as our first institutional capital partner, given their deep understanding of the food service distribution market, alignment with our vision, and their strong track record of scaling businesses.

“With the support of Investcorp’s resources and expertise, we believe that Fortune will be well positioned to execute on management’s growth strategy by providing customers with the best quality products and expanding in core and adjacent geographies, while continuing to uphold our rigorous sustainability standards.”

Fortune Fish and Gourmet operates under a comprehensive seafood sustainability policy. This includes industry-leading standards for suppliers to ensure the sourcing and sale of environmentally and socially responsible seafood, as well as product donations to food assistance programmes focused on eliminating hunger. Fortune Fish and Gourmet is MSC and ASC certified and is also a founding member of Sea Pact, an alliance of companies dedicated to improving the social, economic and environmental sustainability of global seafood supply chains.

Investcorp has a deep history of collaborating with founder-led businesses and this transaction represents the firm’s fifth partnership with a US-based founder-led business over the last two years. In addition, Investcorp has a long track record of investing in the supply chain and distribution industries with notable past investments including Berlin Packaging, FleetPride and American Tire Distributors.

Houlihan Lokey acted as financial adviser to Fortune on this transaction.

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