Kian Capital Partners (Kian), a middle-market focused private investment firm, has sold its portfolio company, Empire Group (Empire) to PNC Riverarch Capital (PNC Riverarch). Terms of the transaction have not been 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,” says 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 organisation 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, says: “At all levels of the organisation, 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, PACC acted as legal advisor to Kian.