Bidvest Fresh buys Knight Meats

Bidvest Fresh has bought Knight Meats for an undisclosed sum, boosting its business in hospitality, catering and the public sector.

Vendors James & Carol Knight brought the deal to a successful conclusion on Friday 1 April 2016, nine months after Knight Meats made initial approaches to potential buyers.

Established in 1992, Knight Meats is a market leading, premium quality catering butcher, which provides a comprehensive range of fresh meat, poultry and deli products to the professional kitchen sector.

The company, which is based in Chlemsford, Essex, supplies a variety of customers, including many prime quality hotels, restaurants, contract caterers, as well as an increasing number of schools and colleges.

Bidvest Fresh supplies national and independent customers within the catering industry with fresh ingredients including fish and seafood, meat, produce, dairy products and ambient goods.

It offers delivery of all of its ingredients directly to customers’ kitchens in temperature controlled vehicles.

In a statement, Bidvest Fresh said: “With Knight Meats on board, Bidvest Fresh increase their skill base in butchery and strengthen their ability to offer nationwide delivery of quality meat, alongside Royal Warrant Holders’, Campbell Brothers in Scotland, and Henson’s in central London who are famous for their salt beef.”  

The Camlee Group acted as lead advisors on the deal.

Jim Knight, md of Knight Meats, commented: “Camlee had a very active and hands on role in the management of this process right from the beginning. [Project director] Paul [Thompson] was proactive and remained positive throughout, and took ownership and responsibility of key issues without hesitation.

“Camlee’s experience and technical expertise was extremely helpful and I’m pleased that I selected Camlee as my corporate finance advisors in the first place.”

Thompson told Meat Trades Journal the transaction had been concluded for “a seven figure sum”, but refused to be more specific.

“Bidvest Fresh has fully acquired the assets of Knight Meats and all staff will be retained,” he said. Jim Knight would continue in his role as head of the company for the foreseeable future and it would be run from its existing site, he stressed.

The deal expanded Bidvest Fresh's geographical reach and market coverage and the company had big plans for investment in the newly bought business, said Thompson. “They spent a lot of time looking at the site to ensure it does have scope for further development.”

In a statement issued by The Camlee Group, he added: “We are thrilled to have facilitated this deal on behalf of our clients.

“Bidvest was identified as a likely acquirer for our client at a very early stage and although there were a number of competing offers, Bidvest demonstrated their desire and commitment by firming up their initial interest quickly and negotiated hard to deliver a deal that our clients were unable to refuse.”

Bidvest Fresh is part of the international Bidvest Group, which supplies the catering industry with fresh ingredients including fish and seafood, meat, produce, dairy products and ambient goods.

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