New York-based Ronin Equity Partners has acquired two North American manufacturers of commercial refrigeration equipment, QBD and Minus Forty, both located in Canada’s Greater Toronto area. The brands will continue to be marketed under their own names, but the merged group will be a platform for consolidation in the fragmented refrigerated display case industry, where 60 percent of the market is divided between over one hundred family-owned businesses.
Minus Forty manufactures pet food coolers as well as product presentation coolers and freezers for the micro market and food industries. QBD sells coolers and customized refrigerated displays.
Both Julian Attree, co-founder of Minus Forty, and Safder Jaffer, president of QBD, will be involved in the combined business. Jesse Yao, managing partner at Ronin, will become CFO. The group’s CEO will be Ronin operating advisor, Troy Shannan, who is joining from Nonni’s Foods.
“We are going to create a foundation of continued consolidation in a fragmented sector that rewards scale with higher margins and better than average growth,” says Ronin managing partner David Feierstein. The merged group is looking at multiple acquisitions in the U.S., Europe and Latin America.
Northleaf Capital Partners, Cherng Family Trust, Stephens Capital Partners, Nicola Wealth, Northwood Ventures, Knott Partners and Sope Creek Capital acted as co-investors in the transaction.
With the simultaneous purchases, Ronin has invested or reserved for follow-on portfolio investment some $300 million. This includes all the capital raised for its inaugural fund plus all co-investments, according to the company. Triago Americas Inc., acted as sole placement agent for Ronin Fund I.
For the QBD and Minus Forty purchases, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and Bennett Jones LLP acted as legal advisors. Buyside advisors were M&A Advisory Services and Rabobank. Financing was provided by J.P. Morgan as lead left and administrative agent; HSBC, TD Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Rabobank, and CIBC as joint lead arrangers; and BHI and Stifel Bank as participants.