Gourmand Specialty Foods, Inc.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2000
 

 

MERGER OF GOURMAND SPECIALTY FOODS, INC. & DE CHOIX IS RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Specialty Foods Companies’ Merger Expands Nationwide Presence of High-End Delicacies

CHICAGO, Ill.—December 11, 2000: Prospect Partners, LLC is proud to announce the merger of Gourmand Specialty Foods of Herndon, Virginia and De Choix Specialty Foods Company of Woodside, New York.

Gourmand Specialty Foods, Inc. (“GSF”) is a producer and distributor of high-quality branded gourmet foods and ingredients for the finest restaurants and hotels in the United States. Formed in 1999, GSF consists of Gourmand, Inc. and Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras of Ferndale, New York is the leading producer of Foie Gras and Moulard Duck products in North America. Izzy Yanay, General Manager, along with Michael Ginor, President, formed Hudson Valley Foie Gras in 1989. In a mere ten years, Hudson Valley Foie Gras has not only secured nationwide distribution through gourmet and specialty food distributors, but has earned a branded spot on the nation’s most prestigious menus.

Gourmand is a twenty-three-year-old leading importer and distributor of specialty foods. Gourmand’s full line of specialty products that includes truffles, foie gras, caviar and a complete line of pastry ingredients. Gourmand is represented on the east and west coasts, with distribution centers in Herndon, Virginia and Culver City, California.

De Choix Specialty Foods, established in 1960, is a pioneer in the specialty and global food industry, with over twelve hundred upscale and innovative food products ranging from imported couvertures, grilled vegetables, artisan cheeses and cured meats to Asian condiments, European pastry, baking and gelato ingredients. De Choix, with locations in New York and San Francisco, bolsters the key market presence of Gourmand and Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

“Our loyal customers and suppliers have relied on us for top quality products and services for years,” explains Leon Pinto, CEO of Gourmand Specialty Foods. “In a global environment, the demand for offering ingredients for every discriminating chef and palette—literally—is substantial. We have the utmost admiration for De Choix as a top-quality company in our industry, and we are looking forward to working with Gene Kaplan (President of De Choix) and Bob Bruno (Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales of De Choix) in building our new and stronger company together. ”

“This is a great opportunity for De Choix to expand our current operations and service,” supports Gene Kaplan, President of De Choix. “Gourmand Specialty Foods brings the capital, product lines and reputation we need to catapult our growth and service our increasing market demand.”

“Our relationship with Gourmand was established in order to expand our business, better serve our customers and secure key market presence in light of increasing demand for our product,” explains Michael Ginor, Vice Chairman of GSF and President of Hudson Valley Foie Gras. “Over the past ten years, we have seen an across-the-board increase in the knowledge, appreciation, and demand for top-quality foie gras and other luxury ingredients, including caviar, truffles, artisan cheeses, pastry products, and imported confections. Given our complementary products and distribution channels, there is a very strong synergy with De Choix. We look forward to building our company together.”

The combination of Gourmand, Hudson Valley and De Choix creates a stronger market presence and highly efficient distribution system for both upscale food service and retail operators nationwide. With locations in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Washington D.C.areas, the combined company secures a prominent specialty food presence in the nation’s epicurean hotbeds.

“For GSF, De Choix fits optimally with Gourmand and Hudson Valley Foie Gras,” explains William V. Glastris, Jr. of Prospect Partners, LLC, the Chicago-based private equity firm behind the De Choix merger and formation of GSF in 1999. “This is an exciting opportunity for all concerned. De Choix provides GSF with a presence in key geographic markets, and GSF provides a strong platform upon which we look forward to building the combined company.”

Together, Prospect Partners and Gourmand Specialty Foods will be seeking to acquire branded producers and marketers of specialty food products such as fish, game, cheeses, meats and pastry ingredients.

Prospect Partners, LLC of Chicago manages a $105 million private equity fund focused on management-led leveraged acquisitions and providing growth capital for lower middle market businesses with niche strategies.

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