Sysco Corp., Houston, Texas, reached a definitive agreement to acquire Brakes Group, a European foodservice distributor with operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Sweden, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg. The transaction is valued at approximately $3.1 billion.
This transaction expands Sysco’s footprint in the UK and Ireland and further into Europe and positions the company for potential future expansion in these markets. Both companies expect to complete the transaction before the end of Sysco’s fiscal year in July.
Headquartered in London, Brakes Group will operate as a stand-alone company within Sysco, and will continue to be led by chief executive officer Ken McMeikan. His management team and the rest of the employee base will also remain in place.
“We look forward to welcoming Brakes Group, its 15,000 employees and Ken McMeikan and his highly respected leadership team to the Sysco family of companies,” says Bill DeLaney, Sysco chief executive officer. “This transaction will unite Sysco with a leading foodservice distributor in Europe with demonstrated capability to sustainably grow its business over time. Beginning with a common customer-centric mindset, our companies are strategically aligned with compatible cultures and similar business models. We expect to retain key members of Brakes Group’s talented leadership team and to experience little distraction from integration given the minimal overlap of the businesses. Sysco’s management team remains confident in and committed to achieving our previously announced 3-year plan financial objectives.”
“Since we bought Brakes Group in 2007, the business has been transformed with capital investment of more than 100 million British pounds in an e-commerce platform, multi-temperature distribution infrastructure and customer service enhancements,” says Dwight Poler, a managing director of Bain Capital Private Equity, parent company of the Brakes Group. “There is still a huge market opportunity ahead that I am confident Brakes Group is very well placed to deliver with Sysco.”
“It’s very exciting for Brakes Group to be joining the recognized worldwide leader in foodservice distribution,” adds McMeikan. “Last year, we said we would look for the best strategic option for Brakes Group’s next stage of development. We are delighted to have now concluded this process by joining Sysco. Our mission is simple—to help businesses who serve food to thrive and becoming part of the Sysco family will help us get closer toward achieving that great outcome for our customers, colleagues and suppliers. Similar to Sysco’s approach, Brakes Group serves thousands of customers across Europe every day, including pubs, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, contract caterers and more. We have continued to flourish in recent years, and the significant investment that has been made in Brakes Group provides us with a very solid platform for further growth as part of Sysco.”
Brakes Group was originally established in 1958 by William, Frank and Peter Brake as a poultry supplier to caterers in Great Britain. Today, the $5 billion European foodservice provider supplies an extensive range of fresh, refrigerated and frozen food products, as well as non-food products and supplies, to more than 50,000 foodservice customers.
Brakes Group companies include Brakes, Brakes Catering Equipment, Brake France, Country Choice, Davigel, Freshfayre, M&J Seafood, Menigo Foodservice, Pauley’s, Wild Harvest and Woodward Foodservice.
“We have complete confidence that Ken’s team will achieve its planned business objectives,” DeLaney adds. “We expect to augment this growth by leveraging our combined scale to provide our customers with an even more competitive offering. We look forward to servicing customers across Europe and beyond, with the goal to be their most valued and trusted business partner.”