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Nina Pullman



Thursday 25th February 2016, 03:55 Central Time

Brakes acquired by US firm for £2.2bn

Foodservice giant Sysco has bought Fresh Direct sister company and Bain Capital-owned Brakes Group

Brakes acquired by US firm for £2.2bn

Brakes is a leading foodservice company

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American foodservice giant Sysco has bought British chain Brakes Group in a deal worth £2.2 billion.

Brakes Group, which is owned by Fresh Direct-owner Bain Capital and fresh produce distributor Fresh Direct, will operate as a standalone company within the Sysco group.

It will continue to be led by chief executive Ken McMeikan, with his management team and employees remaining in place.

The deal, expected to be completed by July 2016, includes the repayment of £1.7 billion of Brakes’ financial debt. It expands Sysco’s presence further into Europe and positions it for future expansion in these markets, the company said.

“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,” said Bill DeLaney, Sysco chief executive.

“This transaction will unite Sysco with a leading foodservice distributor in Europe with demonstrated capability to sustainably grow its business over time. 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."

Dwight Poler, managing director of Bain Capital, said: “Since we bought Brakes Group in 2007, the business has been transformed with capital investment of more than £100 million in an e-commerce platform, multi-temperature distribution infrastructure, and customer service enhancements.

“There is still a huge market opportunity ahead that I am confident Brakes Group is very well placed to deliver with Sysco.”

McMeikan said it’s “exciting” for Brakes to be joining the “recognised worldwide leader” in foodservice distribution.

“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,” he said.

In 2015, Brakes’ revenue was nearly £3.3 billion British pounds, up 6.5 per cent on the year before.

Brakes Group companies include Brakes, Brakes Catering Equipment, Brake France, Country Choice, Davigel, Freshfayre, Fresh Direct, 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,” said DeLaney. “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.”

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