DALLAS — Private equity firm Kelso & Co. has acquired Ferraro Foods from another private equity firm, Kainos Capital. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Headquartered in Piscataway, NJ, Ferraro Foods is a specialty foodservice distributor primarily supplying the Italian restaurant and pizzeria segment in the Eastern United States. Ferraro sources more than 7,000 products from around the world and distributes to more than 6,000 end customers.
The company’s brands include Papa Moozzi, Country Brand, Marino, Marino Soda Syrups, Mama Cucina, Napoli, Il Boun Sapore, Buonsanto, Antica Corte, Steer Ridge Platinum, Spring Red Harvest and many others. Supplier partners include General Mills, Inc., Tyson Foods, Inc., Sweet Streets Desserts and David’s Cookies.
Kainos invested in Ferraro in 2018.
“Our interest in Ferraro Foods was driven by our thematic-based approach to investing in the food industry and our experience partnering with founder owned businesses,” said Andrew Rosen, managing partner of Kainos. “We believed Ferraro Foods could play a unique role as the consolidator in the highly fragmented Italian specialty distribution segment along the eastern seaboard and Michael, with the Ferraro management team that we helped assemble around him, executed brilliantly.
“We and the team sourced and integrated seven proprietary add-ons of other founder-owned specialty distributors, which resulted in exceptional growth during our investment.”
Michael Giammarino, chief executive officer of Ferraro Foods, said the company’s decision to partner with Kainos three years ago “was the right choice.”
“The Kainos team helped us grow our footprint, adding four new centers and expanding into key markets, including New England and Florida,” Giammarino said. “They supported our team in commercializing the business with better use of systems and data, recruiting and hiring key leaders, and supporting the prospecting and closing of seven acquisitions made in the past two and a half years. Kainos' ability to work with founder-owners and their appreciation for the importance of culture and heritage during the commercialization of the business allowed us to scale naturally and drive synergies through to strong financial performance. They did everything they said they would do and set us up for continued success.”
In addition to Ferraro Foods, Kelso’s portfolio of investments includes Eagle Foods, a manufacturer of canned milk, popcorn and other salty snack products, as well as several other companies in a wide array of industries, including health, insurance, golf carts and packaging.