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Cheney Brothers secures partnership investment from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice

Cheney Bros, a family-owned, operated regional food distributor serving the Southeastern United States, has closed an investment by funds managed by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).The investment will help fund the company’s continued expansion across its core markets, including, but not limited to, Florida and North Carolina. The Cheney family remain majority owners of the company, while Byron Russell, grandson of company founder Joe Cheney and CEO since 1981, remains Chairman and CEO. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1925, Cheney Brothers provides food and other broad line products to independent restaurants, restaurant chains, hotels, country clubs, institutional groups, and other foodservice operators. With annual revenues of more than USD2 billion, the company is a leading distributor in its home market of Florida and, over the last several years, has expanded its presence in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The company serves its markets with more than 50,000 products out of 13 state-of-the-art facilities.

“This partnership with CD&R supports our mission to continuously enhance our product offering, innovate, and provide exceptional service to our valued customers,” said Mr. Russell. “CD&R’s extensive experience in our industry and the vision we share for the future of the company give me great confidence in Cheney Brothers’ growth prospects and the benefits that we expect it to bring to our employees and the customers we serve.”

“We have great respect for the company that Byron and his family have built and the long-term value they have created for customers, suppliers, and employees,” says CD&R Partner Kenneth Giuriceo. “As a firm, we have been investing in market-leading food distribution businesses like Cheney Brothers for 25 years, and we look forward to working closely with the management team, sharing our expertise, and supporting the company’s continued success.”

Debevoise & Plimpton acted as legal advisor to CD&R in the transaction. Davis Polk & Wardwell acted as legal advisor and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC acted as financial advisor to Cheney Brothers.

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