HKW’s Fresh Direct Produce acquires Emperor Specialty Foods

CPE Media News (7/18/2019) – HKW announced that its portfolio company, Fresh Direct Produce, Ltd. has acquired Emperor Specialty Foods, a distributor of mushrooms, pears, and other specialty fruits and vegetables, from owner and President Bob McDonald.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. McDonald continues as a business advisor following the transaction.

Richmond, BC based Emperor Specialty Foods was founded in 1986 as a producer of fresh shiitake mushrooms. In 1993 Emperor began importing fresh product by air from China to supplement its continuing in-house production and In 1995, Emperor shut down its own production facility of fresh shiitake and focused exclusively on importing various fresh and dry mushrooms sourced locally and also imported from China.

HKW, a private equity firm investing in growth-oriented companies in the US and Canada, acquired a majority stake in Fresh Direct Produce in 2018.

Vancouver based Fresh Direct Produce is one of Western Canada’s premier fresh produce importers, wholesalers, and marketers with three distribution centers, two in Vancouver and one in Calgary.

photo credit: Emperor Specialty Foods

News Release

HKW Announces Add-on Acquisition by Fresh Direct Produce

July 18, 2019 06:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

INDIANAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–HKW, a middle-market private equity firm focused on growth-oriented companies, today announced that its portfolio company, Fresh Direct Produce, Ltd. (“Fresh Direct Produce”), has acquired Emperor Specialty Foods (“Emperor”). Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1986, Emperor is a distributor of mushrooms, pears, and other specialty fruits and vegetables. This add-on provides meaningful growth opportunities for Fresh Direct Produce, which distributes more than 1,000 domestic, imported, and organic fruit and vegetable items. Emperor is headquartered in Richmond, BC, Canada.

“With a talented management team and range of complementary products, we are confident Emperor will prove an important addition to Fresh Direct Produce, and play a critical role in our value-driven growth plan,” said Davis Yung, President, CEO, and co-founder of Fresh Direct Produce.

“The addition of Emperor’s products and customers, as well as a new location, will allow for smart, strategic growth opportunities,” said Kent Robinson, HKW Partner and Chairman of the Board for Fresh Direct Produce. “This is an important step forward for Fresh Direct Produce and we are excited for both teams. The acquisition is also strategically aligned within the Health & Wellness sector, a key area of focus for HKW.”

About Fresh Direct Produce
Fresh Direct Produce is one of Western Canada’s premier fresh produce importers, wholesalers, and marketers with three distribution centers, two in Vancouver and one in Calgary. Sourcing and importing over 1,000 conventional and organic fruit and vegetable items from 35 countries, Fresh Direct Produce’s commitment to growth and development allows them to attract and align with the best growers, customers, and talents in the industry. Fresh Direct Produce has been named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for eight consecutive years. To learn more about Fresh Direct Produce, visit freshdirectproduce.com.

About HKW
HKW is a private equity firm investing in growth-oriented companies with talented management teams in the US and Canada. HKW targets small to mid-size companies in the Business Services and Health & Wellness sectors. Since 1982, HKW has sponsored 60 platform transactions of lower middle-market companies throughout North America, as well as 65 add-on acquisitions. For more information on HKW, please visit hkwinc.com.

Contacts

Jim Snyder, jcs@hkwinc.com, 317-705-8815

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