• Gordon Food Service acquisition in Florida may signal national expansion

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Gordon Food Service (GFS) has signed a letter of intent to acquire the Florida distributorship and Florida cash-and-carry stores of Smart & Final, Inc. (SMI), a Los Angeles-based firm.

According to the ID Management Report, the transaction will close within 60 days.

"Smart & Final's Florida businesses are a great fit with our existing operations and provide us a strategic entry into the Florida market, which historically has been one of the strongest foodservice markets in the U.S.," said Dan Gordon, GFS president.

That the acquisition puts the regional Midwestern and Canadian distributor into a brand-new area may signal GFS -- the largest privately held broadliner in North America -- might go national. GFS spokesman said, however, that the company doesn't have specific "geographic expansion strategies" at present.

The deal includes the former Henry Lee Co., a broadliner acquired by Smart & Final and subsequently renamed Smart & Final Foodservice. ID estimates the southeastern distributorship generates about $200 million of the overall $382 million reported in its "Top 50" by Smart & Final under its American Foodservice Distributors broadliner umbrella. The transaction also includes 14 Florida cash-and-carry stores, a business in which GFS thrives; it has 93 Marketplace stores of its own located throughout the Midwest.

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