Empire to acquire Berkshire’s Farm Boy in $800 mln deal: Reuters

Canadian food retailer Empire Co Ltd said on Monday it would acquire privately held grocer Farm Boy Inc for an enterprise value of $800 million (US$618 million) to increase its presence in Ontario.

Ottawa-based Farm Boy, which specializes in “farm-to-table” wholesale, will be acquired from Berkshire Partners, following which it will be set up as a separate company within Empire’s structure.

“It will be a growth vehicle in urban and suburban markets,” Empire Chief Executive Michael Medline said, adding that he expected earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) to double in five years.

The deal is expected to close at the beginning of 2019.

Greenhill & Co Canada Ltd, Scotiabank and KPMG LLP were the financial advisers to Empire Co Ltd.

Update: Berkshire, a Boston private equity firm, invested in Farm Boy in 2012. No financial terms were disclosed.

In a statement, Empire said Farm Boy’s founder and co-CEO, Jean-Louis Bellemare, who opened the first Farm Boy grocery store in Ottawa in 1981, and Jeff York, who has been co-CEO since 2009, will continue in their roles for the long-term.

(Reporting by Karan Nagarkatti in Bengaluru)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)