Hawkeye Foodservice Sold

By Dave DeWitte, Reporter

CORALVILLE, Iowa -- A leading national food distributor based in Illinois has reached agreement to acquire family-owned Hawkeye Foodservice Distribution of Iowa City.

US Foods of Rosemont, Ill., announced the agreement to buy the 60-year-old Iowa company, which has more than 4,000 customers and annual sales of more than $200 million.

The current Hawkeye Foodservice distribution center will become US Food's first distribution center in the state, and Hawkeye Foodservice President Jeff Braverman will become US Foods' division president in Iowa.

Terms of the deal, expected to close in early August, were not disclosed.

Keith Knight, US Foods Central Region president, said in prepared remarks that adding the Hawkeye Foodservice business will enable US Foods to better serve its customers throughout Iowa and expand its presence in the region.

He praised Hawkeye Foodservice as an "outstanding company with a deep commitment to food and customer service."

US Foods plans to improve the distribution center in Johnson County, adding new technology and will provide training and tools to make employees' jobs easier. The changes are not expected to reduce employment, a company spokeswoman indicated.

Because of overlap in operations between the companies' existing facilities, US Foods plans to close Hawkeye Foodservice operations in Wright City, Mo., and Danville, Ill. They will be "folded in" to US Foods' St. Louis Division in October and its Streator, Ill., division by Nov. 5, according to a US Foods Statement.

The consolidations will affect 50 employees out of Hawkeye Foodservices' 425 employees but also will result in new job opportunities at several locations, US Foods indicated.

US Foods "is committed to treating all affected employees fairly by offering as many reassignments and transfer opportunities within the company as possible," a company statement said. Assistance will include benefits under the company's existing severance program.

US Foods is jointly owned by private equity firms Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Inc. and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

Before the Hawkeye Foodservice acquisition, US Foods had 60 locations and 25,000 employees nationwide. It offers more than 350,000 products and prides itself on innovation with exclusive brands, including the Rykoff Sexton line of premium specialty ingredients sourced globally and the Chef's Line timesaving "scratch-quality" products.

Hawkeye Foodservice also has grown by acquisition, including the 2009 purchase of H & H Foodservice in West Union.
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