Charlotte, NC (January 24, 2023) – Ridgemont Equity Partners, a middle market private equity investor, today announced the recapitalization of Worldwide Produce (the “Company”), a leading distributor of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products and specialty foods to restaurants, foodservice customers and grocery stores across the western United States. Worldwide Produce operates five climate-controlled distribution facilities across its geographic footprint. Sole Source Capital, the Company’s existing financial sponsor, will retain a meaningful minority stake in Worldwide Produce in partnership with Ridgemont and Company management.
“Ridgemont’s partnership with Worldwide Produce is the culmination of a multi-year firm effort to invest in the B2B food supply chain industry, based on the resilience of the food end market, durable shifts in consumer preferences for ‘better for you’ foods and the increasing consumption of food away from the home,” said John Grenier, Principal at Ridgemont. “Worldwide Produce exemplifies many of the most important characteristics that we have been seeking – the Company has a diversified customer and product mix, operates in a large and fragmented industry and is led by a strong, well-rounded management team that has experience executing organic and M&A growth initiatives.”
Tim Dillon, Partner at Ridgemont, added: “We are excited to help implement a growth and value creation strategy that we’ve been successful executing with other specialty distributors. Together with management and Sole Source, we have the opportunity to build a super-regional leader through selective acquisitions across the United States. We are all aligned on how to invest in the team and operations so that the Company can enter new markets and win new business. Worldwide Produce is large enough to benefit from scale with an extensive product and service offering, but locally-focused to deliver a high-touch customer experience on a daily basis.”
“We look forward to continuing our track record of adding new independent specialty food distributors to the Worldwide Produce footprint and integrating operations and relationships to strengthen our position in the market with our grower partners and customers,” said Todd Ferguson, CEO of Worldwide Produce. “We have the best salesforce in the business in our regions – they are knowledgeable and passionate and have built trusted relationships with key members of the local food communities. We will continue to focus on recruiting and supporting our salespeople and other employees as we scale our Company.”
David Fredston, Founder and CEO of Sole Source Capital, added: “We have developed a great partnership with the Worldwide Produce team over the last three years and are very pleased to continue supporting the platform. There are many more growth opportunities to pursue together, and recapitalizing the business with Ridgemont and management positions Worldwide Produce to continue its trajectory.”
Financing for the transaction was provided by Ares Management Credit Funds, NXT Capital, Kayne Anderson Private Credit, Manulife Investment Management, PNC Erieview Capital and Yukon Partners. Harris Williams LLC served as financial advisor to Ridgemont, and Truist Securities served as financial advisor to Worldwide Produce and Sole Source. Alston & Bird served as legal advisor to Ridgemont and Proskauer served as legal advisor to the Company and Sole Source. This investment was made from Ridgemont Equity Partners IV, L.P. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.