Indy-based produce distributor Caito Foods selling for $217M

Indianapolis-based Caito Foods Service—which began a half-century ago by hawking produce downtown and now supplies groceries and distributors in 22 states—has agreed to be acquired by Grand Rapids, Michigan-based SpartanNash for $217.5 million in cash.

Publicly traded SpartanNash, a Fortune 400 company that distributes grocery products nearly nationwide, announced Friday that it has signed a definitive agreement to buy Caito and its affiliated logistics and distribution business Blue Ribbon Transport and expects to complete the purchases by early January.

Family-owned Caito is headquartered on North Post Road and has distribution centers in Indianapolis; Newcomerstown, Ohio; and Lakeland, Florida. Caito distributes fresh fruits and vegetables, freshly prepared foods and flowers to grocery stores and food service distributors in the Midwest, Southeast and Eastern United States. Blue Ribbon Transport provides distribution and logistics services for Caito and for third parties.

The deal also will include Caito’s newly built, $32 million "Fresh Kitchen" facility in Indianapolis, which is scheduled to launch production in the first quarter of 2017. Employees at the 118,000-square-foot facility will process, cook and package fresh protein-based foods and complete meals.

“We are excited about this opportunity to expand our presence in serving some of the fastest-growing categories in grocery, including fresh produce, value-added fruits and vegetables and protein-based prepared food,” SpartanNash CEO Dennis Edison said in a press release.

Caito was founded in 1965 by brothers Philip J. Caito IV and Joseph A. Caito. The company’s annual revenue tops $600 million.

SpartanNash generates more than $7.7 billion in annual revenue. It distributes grocery products to independent retailers, national accounts, more than 150 company-owned stores and to U.S. military commissaries. Its customers are in 47 states plus Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Bahrain and Egypt.

SpartanNash operates distribution centers in more than a dozen states, including an Indiana facility in Bloomington.

Caito’s senior leadership team, including Caito President Robert Kirch and Blue Ribbon President David Frizzell, will join SpartanNash.

“We are looking forward to joining the SpartanNash family to expand and enhance our combined ability to deliver high quality fresh products efficiently to a greater number of customers across the country,” Kirch said in the press release.

In addition to paying the $217.5 millon purchase price, SpartanNash will reimburse Caito for certain transaction costs. SpartanNash also will pay Caito's owners up to an additional $12.4 million if the busienss hits certain performance targets.

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