Westrock Coffee to Buy S&D Coffee in $405M Deal

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Westrock Coffee Co. LLC of Little Rock on Friday announced it would purchase S&D Coffee & Tea of Concord, North Carolina, in a deal worth $405 million.

Westrock, founded by former Alltel Corp. CEO Scott Ford, said the deal will create “the leading integrated coffee company serving the needs of the retail, restaurant, convenience store, and hospitality industries.”

The combined company will employ 1,700 globally and be able to roast, grind and package more than 220 million pounds of coffee annually. It will be headquartered in Arkansas, where Westrock is already expanding its roasting and packaging plant in North Little Rock

Meanwhile, S&D’s operation in Concord will continue as a major center of operations with plans to continue expansion there, according to a Westrock news release. 

“We intend to use the scale of the new company to offer the most innovative beverage solutions with competitive pricing to our global clients while simultaneously providing a premium price to our farmer partners at origin,” Ford, Westrock’s CEO, said. “Our unmatched commitment to customer service, product quality and our industry-leading sustainability and transparent sourcing practices will remain a cornerstone of our business.”

Founded in 1927, S&D Coffee & Tea is the largest coffee and tea manufacturer and supplier to restaurants and convenience stores in America, serving more than 110,000 customers through national distribution and direct store delivery.

Ford said S&D President and CEO Ron Hinson will be an advisor to the combined company under the title chairman emeritus.

Westrock is buying S&D from publicly traded Cott Corp. of Tampa, Florida, which is transitioning into “a pure-play water solutions provider.” Cott bought S&D in a $355 million deal in 2016. At the time, S&D had about $550 million in annual revenue.

“The S&D team is known for its dedication, hard work and passion for quality beverages and first-class service to its customers,” Cott CEO Tom Harrington said. “That commitment is evident to anyone who visits S&D or works with them, and we are confident S&D will continue to thrive under its new ownership.”

The companies said BBH Capital Partners, a private equity strategy of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., will provide acquisition capital alongside Westrock Coffee’s existing investors, including The Stephens Group LLC. Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz served as legal advisor to Westrock.

Westrock announced the expansion of its North Little Rock plant in May, adding 36,000 SF to the 52,000-SF plant. At the time, Ford said the move would add more than 60 full-time employees, bringing Westrock’s total Arkansas employees to more than 130 and its global workforce to about 400.