KeHE Distributors has joined with TowerBrook Capital Partners as a strategic capital partner to help fund the distributor’s growth and continue to bring new and emerging brands to market in the United States and Canada. The international investment management firm replaces a longtime minority shareholder.
“We have been very deliberate in selecting a partner that believes in our mission and values as well as our strategic vision to be the next-generation distributor in specialty, natural and organic, and fresh foods,” said Brandon Barnholt, KeHE’s president and CEO. “This arrangement allows KeHE to maintain our majority employee stock ownership (ESOP) structure, while securing the infusion of capital we need to power our growth initiatives.”
Naperville, Ill.-based KeHE was the first food distributor to earn B Corporation certification, in 2016, while TowerBrook was the first mainstream private-equity firm to earn B Corporation status.
“We see many exciting opportunities in this large and growing sector,” added Andrew Rolfe, managing director at New York-based TowerBrook. “Responsible investing is also an integral part of how we work. We are thrilled to partner with KeHE, as they share our commitment to values such as diversity, inclusion, service, transparency and sustainability.”
Employee-owned KeHE provides natural and organic, specialty, and fresh products to chain and independent grocery stores, as well as to natural food stores and other specialty product retailers in North America.