Highview Capital, LLC, Los Angeles, acquired Gold Star Foods, Inc., an Ontario, Calif.-based food distributor to K-12 child nutrition programs.

As part of the agreement, Gold Star will merge with existing Highview portfolio company Good Source Solutions, Inc., a Carlsbad, Calif.-based specialized food distributor focused on K-12, corrections and non-commercial segments. The merger will create a new holding company called GS Foods Group, and Sean Leer was appointed chief executive officer of the new entity. Gold Star and Good Source will continue to operate as independent brands.

The combination of Gold Star and Good Source will establish a new leader in specialized foodservice distribution for the K-12, corrections and other segments requiring specialized products and services. The combined company will have a national footprint with substantial market presence across the United States, serving over 8,000 customers nationwide.

The transaction will also bring together two companies with sophisticated sales and marketing, procurement, distribution, logistics and service capabilities. Gold Star and Good Source will continue to operate under their current names and branding in the foodservice industry, and each will continue to be led by their current management teams, with Leer and Rich Friedlen serving as presidents of Gold Star and Good Source, respectively.

Gold Star provides fresh foods with its school nutrition partners to over 4 million students each day, at 3,500 schools and in 500-plus school districts. The company’s advanced facilities and proprietary technology help them comply with many USDA programs and regulations.

“This is an exciting new chapter for our combined company and its employees, as well as the communities and school districts that we serve across the United States. Good Source is a like-minded partner with an exceptional management team and equally fierce commitment to providing safe, top-quality and sustainably sourced food,” adds Leer. “Combined, our companies will create an innovative platform to transform the supply system for school nutrition programs.”

“This is a transformational deal, uniting two specialized foodservice powerhouses, which together will have a broad national footprint with highly complementary strengths,” adds Ryan McCarthy, co-founder of Highview. “Gold Star earned its reputation for outstanding customer service and product quality, and we have been impressed by its distribution capabilities and presence within the K-12 market. Specialized foodservice distribution is a highly fragmented industry, and market leaders are differentiated by the sophistication and scale of their distribution network, as well as their commitment to quality and to satisfying the customer. We believe both Gold Star and Good Source more than meet these criteria, and we are excited to partner with and continue to support both brands.”

Highview acquired Gold Star from Castle Harlan, Inc., New York.