Emil Parthenides advises on the sale of Festival City Food & Liquor to Bidfood

Benchmark Corporate & Sales Director Emil Parthenides are pleased to announce that Festival City Food & Liquor Pty Ltd (“Festival City or the Company’) has been sold to Bidfood...

Benchmark Corporate & Sales Director Emil Parthenides are pleased to announce that Festival City Food & Liquor Pty Ltd (“Festival City or the Company’) has been sold to Bidfood for an undisclosed amount. Bidfood is a leading food service company and is ranked inside Australia’s top 200 companies.

Festival City is one of Australia’s largest specialised distributors of local & imported European food & liquor products, operating from 3 states and distributing to leading hospitality & retail outlets across Australia.

Advisor to the Festival City board Emil Parthenides commented: “There was considerable interest in the Festival City
business from private equity and trade buyers and the board determined that Bidfood offered a compelling proposition for the continuation of a legacy built by the vendors of over 35 years.”

The core values of Festival City – identifying, sourcing and distributing the highest quality food & liquor products, remains the key focus of the company.

About Festival City:

Festival City is a family owned company with over 35 years’ experience as wholesale merchants. Festival represents Australian and International food and beverage brands across South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory (Oz North Distributors)..

Carrying a portfolio in excess of 9,000 products, Festival City services the hospitality and retail industries and their flexibility means they can tailor packages for individual customers which they believe is critical to good service.

The colourful history of Festival City began in 1978 when Don Totino purchased Sarti Liqueurs, located in Norwood. The premises soon became too small, so they shifted operations to Beverley, though these premises were also outgrown, and a property at Woodville West was purchased. Since taking over the business, Don diversified and imported a range of good quality Italian wines and liqueurs, while still maintaining production of their own vodka, sambuca, ouzo, liqueurs and, his favourite, Marsala. By 1986, Don decided that the business was becoming too big to handle alone, so he welcomed the Rugari and Condo families as business partners, and the business name was changed to Festival City Wines & Spirits. In 1989, the business began to outgrow the Woodville West premises too, and so the company moved to its much larger current location on Port Road at Albert Park.

Festival City has since opened a store filled with local and international products, located adjacent to its head office and warehouse. The establishment of Banquet Foods meant that the general public could now benefit from the incredible range of products on offer. Festival City broadened its portfolio even further by acquiring the Vine Valley Vinegar label, a company with a 100 year history, with the manufacturing plant being relocated to the Albert Park site.

In 2008, Festival City expanded with the purchase of Gollars Wines & Spirits in Deer Park, Melbourne. This private company had been operated by the same owners for 30 years who dedicated themselves to providing great products and services. These values aligned with that of Festival City, and so this established a Victorian base for Festival and opened the door for further expansion in years to come.

A year later, they acquired Oz North Food Wholesalers in Darwin, another family owned company with similar values. In 2010, the business was moved to a new freehold premises and with strong growth, expanded their services by introducing liquor wholesaling early in 2011. This has fuelled strong growth within the company and by replicating the one-stop destination model established by Festival City Food & Liquor, Oz North can offer a full range of food and liquor products to the hospitality and retail trade in Darwin.

Food Service Interest:

Emil Parthenides was responsible for the roll-up concept & proposal behind the proposed asx public listing of Hudson Food Group in 2016 which consisted of 15 businesses including Food Distribution, Coffee Roasting & Food Manufacturing. The $260M IPO mandated by Wraith Capital, Royal Bank of Canada & Bell Potter received a large amount of media attention prior to listing, bringing a huge amount of attention to the Food Distribution industry. The IPO was side tracked when RFG made a successful bid for Hudson Food Group, settling September 2016.

Post IPO, Emil received a lot of enquiries for businesses not included in the trade sale to RFG. Emil has successfully sold a number of these in the last 12 months at record valuations. Emil comments “Prior to the proposed IPO of Hudson Food Group there were two main food distribution acquirers being Bidvest & PFD, as of today there is not only PFD, Bidvest (now Bidfood) but also Blue Sky Funds, Retail Food Group, Quadrant Capital and some new entrants hoping to enter including a listed agricultural based business. Emil feels competition is heating up and with Amazon eyeing off a Food Distribution acquisition in the USA, Emil confirms he continues to be approached by acquirers and believes there has never been a better time for privately held Food Distribution businesses to exit.

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