Kian exits Empire Group

PNC Riverarch Capital has acquired Empire Group from Kian Capital Partners.

PNC Riverarch Capital has acquired Empire Group from Kian Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, Empire is a wholesale distributor of commercial foodservice equipment and genuine OEM parts.


ATLANTA, GA and CHARLOTTE, NC (Feb. 7, 2020) Kian Capital Partners (“Kian”), a middle-market focused private investment firm, is pleased to announce the successful sale of its portfolio company, Empire Group (“Empire”) to PNC Riverarch Capital (“PNC Riverarch”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, Empire is a wholesale distributor of commercial foodservice equipment and genuine OEM parts into diverse markets, including foodservice equipment dealers, service organizations, buying groups and national chain accounts. Empire’s 5,500+ customers greatly value its technical expertise and national fulfillment capabilities through its seven locations.

“Kian’s leadership, while always being genuine and supportive to the entire team, helped drive alignment in our quest to realize the full potential of this business,” said Jim Kirkland, CEO of Empire. “Not only did they help us expand the depth of our executive team, but they helped create a metric-driven organization that was fundamental to building our platform for growth. Without their guidance, it would have been very difficult to have successfully integrated three acquisitions and to scale so quickly.”

During its partnership, Kian supported Empire’s management team in expanding the company’s geographic footprint through three transformative acquisitions and organic branch development, extending the company’s product set, deepening relationships with key vendor partners and building out the executive team. The result of these efforts was the creation of a unique distributor of scale within the fragmented wholesale foodservice equipment industry. Over the course of Kian’s ownership, the company increased its branch locations from three to seven, and tripled both revenue and EBITDA.

Kevin McCarthy, Co-Founder and Partner at Kian, commented, “At all levels of the organization, Empire worked as a team with determination and hard work to build a company we are all proud of — a leader among foodservice equipment wholesale distributors. Jim Kirkland, Keith Bilyeu and the rest of the team have been a pleasure to work with, and we believe the Empire platform is well-positioned for its next chapter of growth. On behalf of Kian, we thank them for their efforts and wish them continued success with PNC Riverarch going forward.”

Metronome Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor to Empire, and Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. acted as legal advisor to Kian.

About Kian Capital Partners
At Kian, we forge partnerships to ignite growth and build enduring value. Our goal is to provide flexible financial resources and additional operational horsepower to scale middle-market businesses, realize aspirations and deliver long-term investment returns through genuine partnership. Our team of seasoned investors has over 80 years of collective experience providing transformational capital solutions and board-level strategic and operational guidance to founder/owner operated businesses. Kian is a private investment firm with $425 million of capital under management and a focus on four core industry sectors: consumer, services, specialty manufacturing and value-added distribution. To learn more, visit