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Arbor Investments Buys DPI Specialty Foods
Published Tuesday, December 15, 2015
by Deanna Ting

Chicago-based private equity firm, Arbor Investments, completed its acquisition of a majority equity stake in Ontario, California-based DPI Specialty Foods, Inc. from Dublin-based Ornua Co-Operative Limited. Ornua will retain a minority equity interest in the company, and DPI's existing senior management will continue to lead the organization. 

DPI Specialty Foods is one of the largest specialty food distributors in the U.S., with approximately 1,800 employees and annual revenues in excess of $1 billion. It sells gourmet, ethnic, organic, and better-for-you foods to national, regional, and independent retailers; quick-service restaurants; and foodservice operators through its eight distribution centers located throughout the U.S. 

Arbor specializes in acquiring and growing middle-market food-and-beverage companies that include Hudson Baking Company, Best Maid Cookie Co., and Concord Foods.

"DPI has an impressive 30-year record of profitably driving customer sales growth through individualized programs that combine best-in-class product selection, logistics, and merchandising with a highly-focused and flexible service model," Alan Weed of Arbor Investments said in a statement. "With a diverse network of national and international vendors, DPI has the pulse of specialty food trends, particularly in the dynamic gourmet, perishable, specialty, natural, organic, local, and ethnic foods categories that retail customers and discriminating consumers demand."

Russ Blake, DPI's president and CEO, also said in a statement, "A unique specialty food product offering is the lifeblood of successful grocers. DPI's service-centric model, providing a full suite of individually tailored solutions, sets us apart from our competitors. Arbor understands our value proposition and is a hand-in-glove fit with our company. We are enthusiastic about unlocking DPI's potential."

Arbor's decision to purchase DPI was driven by the firm's expertise in buying family-owned specialty distributors within the specialty food industry, noted CEO Gregory Parcell. "The specialty food distribution sector presents a great investment opportunity," he said in a statement. "Retail grocery America is crying out for an alternative distribution model to stop, drop, and run. Increasingly, retailers and foodservice operators are realizing the value of partnering with a distribution service provider like DPI who can provide geographic scale, individualized customer service and deep merchandising services. Going forward, we expect to deploy Arbor's resources, capital, and over 20 years of acquisition expertise to acquire family-owned specialty distributors to augment DPI's strong foundation and further enhance its already formidable standing in the specialty food distribution industry."

For Ornua, the sale allows Ornua to reallocate capital and assets to support its investments in "enhanced routs to market for Irish dairy products," said Ornua Foods CEO Europe and Latin America, John Jordan. "As we evaluated potential acquirers, Arbor and its exclusive focus and stellar reputation in the food and beverage industry stood out. We believe that Arbor is the optimal equity partner to drive continued growth at DPI."

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