Experts in Building Leading U.S. Middle Market Distribution and Business Services Companies
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WESTPORT, Conn. – August 30, 2019 – Sterling Investment Partners (“Sterling”), a leading middle market private equity firm, announced today that it has made a majority equity investment in HeartLand (“HeartLand” or the “Company”), in partnership with management. HeartLand is a premier provider of commercial landscape and facilities services, currently operating in five markets across the Central United States. The Company’s founder, Edward Schatz Jr, backed by a proven and entrepreneurial team of “green industry” executives, chose to partner with Sterling to continue building a scalable platform in the industry. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Headquartered in Kansas City, HeartLand serves clients through its five regional companies: Signature Landscape in Kansas City (Kansas and Western Missouri); Columbia Landcare (Central Missouri); Keesen Landscape (Denver, Colorado); Hillenmeyer Landscape (Lexington, Kentucky); and JML Landscape (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). Services include full-service maintenance (mowing, pruning, fertilization and chemical, irrigation, bed maintenance and annual flowers), landscape enhancements (property upgrades and renovations), and winter services (de-icing and snow removal). Each operating platform is a leader in their respective market, with strong brand reputations for high-quality work, responsiveness, reliability, excellent communication and sustaining long-term client relationships. HeartLand’s leadership team includes Chief Executive Officer Ed Schatz, Chief Development Officer Bill Dellecker, and Chief Financial Officer Peter Welch, who have decades of experience building successful businesses within the commercial landscape industry. By selectively investing in top regional providers, HeartLand has created a diverse platform that combines the power of a pre-eminent local service model with the financial resources, integrated systems, technical and developmental resources of a progressive industry leader.
Edward Schatz Jr, CEO of HeartLand, stated, “We conducted an intensive and focused search to secure a new financial partner who will support our continued growth; that process led us to the ultimate selection of Sterling Investment Partners. While they possess the depth of financial resources we needed, they also bring an understanding of and enthusiasm for this business. Their proven track record and management partnership philosophy has resulted in the growth and development of multiple firms over the years and we are confident they will help HeartLand achieve that same level of success. We’ll make a strong team!”
Charles Santoro, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Sterling, commented, “We are very excited to partner with HeartLand’s entrepreneurial team, who have a compelling history of success in the space. We look forward to working with the Company to expand its geographic reach, as the team continues to build a world-class platform.”
About Sterling Investment Partners
Sterling Investment Partners is a private equity firm that has been investing in and building middle-market companies for over 28 years with a highly-experienced, cohesive team of senior investment professionals. Sterling acquires businesses that the firm believes have strong, sustainable competitive advantages and significant opportunities for value creation. Over its history, Sterling has completed over 165 transactions, representing $16.8 billion in transaction value. Key industries Sterling focuses on include value-added distribution and business services. www.sterlinglp.com.
HeartLand is a leading provider of commercial landscape and facilities services, operating through five market-leading operating companies that serve clients in Kansas City, Denver, Columbia (MO), Lexington (KY), and Pittsburgh. Services include turn-key grounds maintenance, landscape enhancements and winter services (snow removal). The Company’s customer base is comprised of over 3,000 properties across all commercial market segments. For more information, please visit www.HeartLandcompany.com.
Sterling Investment Partners ("Sterling"), a private equity firm that has been investing in and building middle-market companies for 28 years, announced that it has completed the sale of Lipari Foods, LLC ("Lipari Foods" or the "Company") to an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital (“H.I.G.”). Sterling has made a new investment in the Company and will hold a board seat. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Lipari Foods is the leading specialty food products distributor in the Midwest. The Company offers its more than 10,000 customers, which are primarily small and mid-sized grocery store chains, access to over 25,000 national and proprietary stock keeping units across a broad range of “perimeter-of-the-store” food product categories, including, deli, bakery, dairy, confections, natural, organic and frozen.
Throughout Sterling’s ownership period, Lipari Foods has grown organically by increasing market breadth and penetration, and through strategic add-on acquisitions in existing and adjacent markets. Lipari Foods completed seven add-on acquisitions and successfully executed several operational initiatives, growing annual revenues to approximately $1 billion, expanding its product lines, enhancing its salesforce, and adding significant warehouse and manufacturing capacity.
Lipari’s management team, including founding family member and current CEO, Thom Lipari, will continue to lead the Company and maintain a significant investment.
“The guidance and support we received from Sterling was instrumental to our success. Sterling provided the resources necessary to allow us to execute on our shared vision for the Company,” said Thom Lipari. “We look forward to their continued involvement with Lipari Foods going forward.”
Charles Santoro, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Sterling noted, “We are very proud to have supported Thom and his leadership team to help build a more geographically diverse business, broaden the Company’s product offering and make significant investments in operations and human capital in order to achieve our strategic objectives for this dynamic business.”
Mr. Santoro continued, “The Company is extremely well positioned for future growth and we very much look forward to working with H.I.G. and the management team of Lipari Foods during this next phase of growth.”
Sterling Investment Partners
Sterling Investment Partners is a private equity firm with a highly experienced, cohesive team of senior investment professionals. Sterling acquires businesses that the firm believes have strong, sustainable competitive advantages and significant opportunities for value creation. Sterling has over $1.5 billion in initial fund commitments. Over its history, Sterling has completed platform investments, strategic or add-on acquisitions, recapitalizations and liquidity events with an aggregate transaction value of over $15.8 billion, representing more than 160 transactions. Key industries Sterling focuses on include value added distribution – B2B and consumer, business services, speciality manufacturing, and transportation and logistics. www.sterlinglp.com