C&S Acquires Grocers Supply Wholesale Operations

Fresh off the heels of its winning bid to acquire Robesonia, Pa.-based Associated Wholesalers, Inc. (AWI) and its subsidiaries, C&S Wholesale Grocers has inked a deal to purchase Houston, Texas-based The Grocers Supply Co.'s wholesale distribution and supply business. The transaction is expected to close before year-end and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

The C&S acquisition does not include any of Grocers Supply’s retail operations and instead covers its warehouse and distribution operations in the Houston, Dallas and Rio Grande Valley areas, along with approximately 1,800 employees.

Commenting on the deal that will position C&S to enter the Southwestern U.S. market, Rick Cohen, chairman/CEO of the Keene, N.H.-based wholesale distributor, commended Grocers Supply Co.'s "century-long legacy of providing the highest level of service to its valued customers, which are primarily independent retailers and regional chains. We very much look forward to partnering with the Grocers Supply team to continue this tradition and to expand the services and offerings available to its customers through the strength and scale of C&S."

Grocers Supply, which provides grocery, frozen, dairy, meat, produce, general merchandise and health and beauty care, is a leading distributor of Hispanic grocery products and focuses on Texas-made and Texas-grown products. Supplying more than 900 independent grocery stores, Grocers Supply is the largest wholesale grocery supplier in Texas. Its largest customer is the 60-store, Houston-based Fiesta Mart, which ranks as one of the nation's largest Hispanic grocers. In addition to Fiesta Mart, Grocers Supply also serves customers of all sizes, including FoodTown, Market Basket, Cox Foodarama/La Fiesta, Sellers Brothers, Minyard Food Stores, G. E. Foodland and El Rio Grande.

“C&S is strongly committed to maintaining the service and product assortment that Grocers Supply’s loyal customers have come to expect,” added Cohen, who described the deal as "an exciting opportunity for both companies, as well our customers and employees" that will enable it "to produce a truly differentiated offering to the independent grocer.”

Max Levit, president of Grocers Supply, said as the Levit family planned for the next 100 years, "we determined that selling the wholesale business would be in the best interest of stakeholders. We carefully selected C&S Wholesale Grocers as the best choice for our employees and customers because of C&S’s commitment to growth, operational excellence, and service to independent grocers. We appreciate our loyal employees’ numerous accomplishments and look forward to seeing their future successes.”

Lazard Ltd. is the financial advisor and Vinson & Elkins LLP is legal counsel to Grocers Supply. Sullivan and Cromwell LLP is legal counsel to C&S.