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Roland Foods Acquires Albert Uster Imports

NEW YORKJan. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Roland Foods, LLC ("Roland Foods"), a portfolio company of Vestar Capital Partners, has closed the acquisition of Albert Uster Imports, Inc. ("AUI"). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, AUI has been a leading importer of specialty pastry, bakery, and confectionary products to professional chefs and bakers for 50 years. AUI sources products from more than 150 global suppliers, including exclusive distribution arrangements with best-in-class brands such as Felchlin, HUG, Ponthier, Laderach, and PCB Creation, among others.

Roland Foods, founded in 1934, is a leading importer of specialty food products, providing more than 1,500 globally sourced SKUs to North American and international foodservice, retail, and industrial customers. Roland Foods has been a portfolio company of Vestar since 2013.

"The acquisition of AUI establishes Roland Foods as a leading platform within the specialty foods landscape," said James Wagner, CEO of Roland Foods. "This acquisition doubles Roland Foods' portfolio of unique, hard-to-source specialty products, increases our presence in the growing pastry and confections product lines, and offers us entry into the frozen and refrigerated categories."

"AUI and Roland Foods have much in common as global leaders in the imported specialty foods niche," said Philipp Braun, CEO of AUI. "However, there is little product overlap and each company brings complementary products and services to the combination. The resources and expertise that AUI can now tap through Roland Foods will accelerate our ambitious plans for both product and customer expansion."

Kirkland & Ellis served as legal counsel and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey as financial advisor to Roland Foods and Vestar. Legal counsel for AUI was provided by Arnold & Porter.

About Roland Foods
Roland Foods, based in New York City, specializes in importing high-quality specialty food products from more than 50 countries. Founded in Paris in 1934 and established in the U.S. in 1939, the Company provides customers with exceptional specialty foods, primarily offered under the Roland brand. The company has a national presence in the foodservice, retail, and industrial channels as well as international sales in the Caribbean, Central and South AmericaAsiaAfrica, and the Middle East. Roland Foods' dedication to providing quality and consistency has made it a leader among food importers and suppliers. The Roland brand is synonymous with quality for the consumer and chef alike. For more information, please visit www.rolandfoods.com.

About Vestar Capital Partners
Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners to build long-term enterprise value, with a focus on Consumer, Healthcare, and Business Services. Since its founding in 1988, Vestar funds have completed more than 80 investments in companies – as well as more than 200 add-on acquisitions – with a total value of approximately $50 billion. For more information on Vestar, please visit www.vestarcapital.com.

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Healthgrades Acquires Influence Health to Expand Footprint

DENVER, Jan. 8, 2019/Denver Business Journal/ -- Healthgrades, the online portal that lets consumers read reviews on hospitals, doctors and other health care providers, has acquired a Birmingham company that’s going to allow it to expand its customer relationship management business and add new offerings to its suite of products.

Rob Draughon, CEO of the Denver-based company, announced at the 37th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, that Healthgrades acquired Birmingham, Alabama-based Influence Health, a company that offers web development, social media and search optimization products for health care customers.

Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but Draughon told Denver Business Journal it would give the combined company about 1,500 customers. Both companies had about 1,000 customers ahead of the acquisition.

The company doesn’t share revenue numbers, but Draughon expects the deal to increase business by 20 percent in 2019.

That’s going to be done by boosting its CRM business. The software product accounts for about 25 percent of the company’s revenue. Influence also offered a CRM solution to its customers.

Draughon said part of the appeal to purchase Influence was its ability to drive social media and search campaigns, along with its website-building services.

“It’s going to expand our footprint and add some new offerings,” he said. “It’s much easier to up-sell to the existing base then try to venture out into a new customer base.”

One of those new products for Healthgrades to up-sell will be Influence’s directory listing management software. The technology checks health system information, like phone numbers, personnel and addresses, across the internet to make sure everything is up to date.

Healthgrades makes a majority of its revenue — about 75 percent — from its physician directory, which gives consumers relevant information about hospitals and doctors in their area. Health systems sponsor about 75 percent of that revenue; pharmaceutical customers make up about 25 percent, Draughon said.

The acquisition adds about 80 employees, bringing Healthgrade’s total workforce to more than 800. The combined company's headquarters will be in Denver. A company spokeswoman said there were some redundancies as part of the deal, but declined to disclose specific numbers. Influence Health employed about 200 people and had plans to grow.

Last year, Influence did a major expansion in Atlanta, where it had plans to double its workforce and relocate to Armour Yards, a 300,000-square-foot loft-office project. The company had plans to add as many as 35 jobs in Atlanta through 2019.

In 2015, Influence entered the Atlanta market after it purchased BrightWhistle, a company that developed software to aid health insurers, physicians and hospitals land new patients, for $20 million.

Healthgrades will keep existing offices in Birmingham and Atlanta, in addition to its Raleigh office, Draughton said. Both companies also have smaller offices in Madison, Wisconsin, which will be consolidated into one building.

Draughon said he isn’t done buying more companies.

“This is the second deal we’ve done in the last three years,” he said. “We’ve been looking at companies, but prices were not attractive. Now, there are some in our space that we hope to [acquire].”