5 PE backed food focused deals; plus a healthy demand for renewable energy on commercial properties

Private equity bets on the food services sector.

Good morning dealmakers, thank goodness it’s Friday!

It’s Obey Martin Manayiti here with the Wire.

Today we are capping off the week with five lower-mid-market private equity-backed deals involving food services for a wide range of institutions from colleges to sports venues.

Earlier in the week, I also revisited ArcLight Capital Partners’ recent carveout of some of Duke Energy’s assets in an interview with the firm’s managing director, Marco Gatti.

But first, let’s look at recent deals.

Expert witness
The Vertex Companies, a portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, has acquired Chicago-based Breakwater Forensics, an expert witness and business consulting firm.

Vertex provides forensics, engineering, construction project advisory, and environmental consulting. Established in 2019, Breakwater’s areas of expertise include commercial damages, forensic accounting, fraud investigations, business valuations, government contracts, construction contract claims (delay and disruption), intellectual property and insurance.

“Strengthening our forensics presence and expert bench are key steps within the Vertex value creation plan,” said Nathan Brown, managing director at Wind Point, in a statement. “The Breakwater team has created an outstanding business, and this combination comes with great upside for Vertex, Breakwater and our collective customers and employees.”

Let’s hit the road
MEI Rigging & Crating, a portfolio company of Olympus Partners, has acquired two North Carolina-based companies: Pro-Pac, a specialty rigging, transportation and export crating supplier and sister company J&J Machinery Transport, a provider of heavy haul equipment transport.

MEI Rigging & Crating is a provider of rigging, machinery moving, millwrighting, mechanical installation, industrial storage, crating and export packing services.

Let’s get some snacks!
In the first half of the year, PE Hub saw a slew of lower-mid-market private equity-backed deal announcements involving food services for a wide range of institutions from colleges to sports venues.

My colleague Rafael Canton rounded up five deals here.

In June, Denver- and Boston-based private equity firm Copley Equity Partners revealed that it made a minority investment in Upper Crust Food Service, a contract food service management company serving sorority and fraternity houses on college campuses, as well as summer camps, across the US.

Upper Crust merged with College Chefs last year, and the combined company serves about 400 locations today.

Bruin Capital announced in May that it took a majority stake in Proof of the Pudding, a hospitality and food service group headquartered in Atlanta.

Proof of the Pudding’s clients include large-scale professional golf tournaments, professional auto racing tracks, college football stadiums, athletic departments, international boat and yachting shows, convention centers and airports.

“When you think about it, running premium catering and experiences for venues and organizations essentially means you’re in charge of the brand and customer experience,” said Bruin Capital founder and CEO George Pyne, in a statement. “Proof has the trust of iconic venues and institutions to serve as their brand steward and deliver the highest standards of excellence.”

Pyne added: “We think Proof will lead the movement to give consumers valuable, memory-filled experiences.”

Food services is a sector that we closely follow here at PE Hub. Earlier this year, I had this story.

Commercial distributed energy
Heightened demand for renewable energy to lower costs and reduce carbon emissions is opening opportunities for ArcLight Capital Partners, managing director Marco Gatti told me in an interview.

Earlier in July, the Boston PE firm agreed to acquire part of Duke Energy’s commercial distributed energy business for $364 million. The assets include REC Solar and distributed fuel cell projects managed by Bloom Energy.

REC Solar installs, constructs and manages distributed solar for commercial, municipalities, hospitals and other large institutions.

“We think that demand is definitely going to grow. It’s already very healthy,” Gatti said about the rise of solar energy usage in commercial and other large institutions.
This is because some sectors that previously viewed renewable energy as too costly or unattainable for their businesses are changing their minds. “That is why we are interested in the sector, because there is room for growth and increasingly profitable growth,” Gatti added.

That’s it for me today.

I will be back with the newsletter on Monday.

Have a nice weekend.