Vestar Capital invests in foodservice supply company

The investment in Illinois-based Edward Don and Company marks the first foodservice supply investment for Vestar, which traditionally focuses on consumer packaged goods.

Mid-market private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners has made an investment of an undisclosed size in foodservice equipment and supplies provider Edward Don & Company (DON), the company announced Thursday.

A market source told Agri Investor that Vestar’s investment in DON came from its Vestar Capital Partners VI Fund, which closed on $814 million in 2011.

The Don family and existing senior management will retain a significant ownership stake, according to the release, which said that the transaction is expected to close during the first quarter.

The company plans to use the capital to focus on geographic expansion and acquisitions.

Established in 1921, Woodridge, Illinois-based DON supplies independent restaurants, national chains, and other customers with products ranging from dinnerware, glassware and linens to cooking fuel, kitchen supplies and cleaning products.

DON chief executive officer Steve Don described the company as offering its customer’s “everything but the food,” while Vestar co-president and founding partner Rob Rosner said DON’s strong management team, customer service organization and technology provided “an unparalleled platform on which to build.”

Vestar is a mid-market private equity firm with $5 billion in assets under management, focused on buyouts, recapitalizations and the provision of growth equity. Founded in 1988, the firm typically makes equity investments between $50 million and $200 million in companies with valuations ranging from $100 million to $1 billion in the consumer, healthcare, business services and industrial products sectors.

The firm’s other current food-related investments include grain-based snack provider Hearthside Food Solutions; natural and organic food-focused investment fund BIGR Ventures; and Presence Marketing, a sales broker specializing in organic foods, beverages and personal care products.

In January, Harvest Partners completed a $125 million recapitalization of Vestar portfolio company Roland Foods, an importer and supplier of specialty foods.

Vestar is currently raising the seventh fund in a series, which recently elicited a commitment of $150 million from the Minnesota State Board of Investment.