Imperial Dade Gains Investment Fuel for Further Expansion

Packaging and janitorial supplies distributor Imperial Dade has rapidly grown in recent years with acquisitions, and it just gained further major investment to do more of it.
Imperial Dade Gains Investment Fuel for Further Expansion

One of the distribution sector’s fastest-growing companies just gained a lot more fuel to support further expansion.

On May 2, private equity firm Advent International announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire a “significant stake” in Imperial Dade — a distributor of foodservice packaging and janitorial supplies based in Jersey City, New Jersey — from Bain Capital Private Equity, which first invested in Imperial Dade in 2019. Advent will have joint board governance and join Audax Private Equity has major investors in the company. Audax first invested in 2016.

According to Boston-based Advent, Imperial Dade has seen its revenue soar from $2 billion to $5 billion since 2019 through numerous acquisitions of regional distributors, alongside organic growth. The company announced 13 bolt-ons in 2021 alone, and has already announced three in 2022, including news of one also announced May 2. The latest addition marks the 48th acquisition for Imperial Dade under the leadership of father-and-son duo of Robert Tills (chairman) and Jason Tills (CEO), who will remain significant investors in the business, along with the company’s current management team.

The company now has approximately 6,400 employees and over 10.2 million square feet of warehouse space across North America and serves over 90,000 customers.

Read more:Why Private Investment is Driving So Much of Distribution M&A, Pt. 3

Advent didn’t disclose what percentage of Imperial Dade it will now own or financial terms of the transaction, but said the company will continue under its current leadership of chairman Robert Tills and CEO Jason Tills, who remain significant investors in the business, along with Imperial Dade’s current management team.

“When we invested in Imperial Dade three years ago, we had a shared vision with the Tillis Family that there was an enormous opportunity to build on the strong foundation they had created and to create an industry leader focused on best-in-class customer service,” said Ken Hanau, Bain Capital managing director and co-head of Industrials. “Under their leadership, Imperial Dade has become the preeminent platform in North America that quality, independent operators are proud to join. Now we are excited to continue to support Imperial Dade’s growth journey with our new partners at Advent, with whom Bain Capital has successfully collaborated in the past.”

Founded in 1935, Imperial Dade provides customers supply chain solutions to customers in market segments of foodservice, grocery, hospitality, cruise lines, healthcare, retail, government, facilities maintenance and export.

“Customers are at the core of all we do as we work to provide the best possible solutions through the products and services we offer,” Jason Tillis said, with Robert Tillis adding, “We appreciate the support and partnership Bain Capital has provided as we have expanded our business and customer mix tremendously, and we look forward to working with Advent as we continue to expand our platform.”

Alongside Advent, Imperial Dade’s latest addition announced May 2 is of Detroit-based Allied Eagle Supply, a full-service provider of jansan and hygiene products, services and solutions. Like all of the company’s previous acquisition announcements, terms were not disclosed.

“Allied Eagle is a market-leading distributor in Michigan, and has an established reputation for customer service, which makes it a great addition to the Imperial Dade platform,” Robert Tillis said about the addition.

“We are excited about the future of Allied Eagle under the leadership of Imperial Dade. On behalf of the Allied Eagle team, we look forward to joining the Imperial Dade organization and entering into this next chapter of growth,” Allied CEO Natalino Scappaticci added.

Prior to Allied, Imperial Dade’s most recent acquisition was of Toronto-based Veritiv Canada, which extended Imperial’s reach north of the border. Announced on March 18, the deal gained Imperial a full-service provider of janitorial and hygiene products, and print and foodservice packaging solutions. Veritiv added a dozen locations to Imperial Dade’s footprint.

On Jan. 4 of this year, Imperial announced the acquisition of Salt Lake City, Utah-based Hylon Koburn Chemicals, a distributor of janitorial products for over 68 years. That followed two bolt-on announcements in December 2021 of Garrett Paper (St. Louis, Missouri) and American Paper & Twine (Nashville, Tennessee).

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