Merry / SJP to Target Lower Middle Market Food Distribution Opportunities.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, August, 2004 – SJ Partners, LLC, a leading lower middle market buyout group, has announced that it is partnering with former Sysco Corporation divisional CEO Ed Merry to acquire mid-size food distributors.

“The food service distribution industry is an ideal fit for our strategy,” states Scott Johnson, CEO of SJ Partners, LLC. “In this era when so many large industries have become very concentrated, it is exciting to note that of the nearly $200 billion in industry sales, the top 10 largest players account for only about a third of sales,” added Johnson.

“This leaves many mid-sized distributors companies with solid franchises and recurring revenue bases but without a solid growth history, so often due to a lack of internal resources and growth focus which is where Ed comes in, stated Johnson.

“I am excited to team up with SJ Partners, LLC. Our perspectives are similar and we look forward to closing a transaction before the end of the year,” said Ed Merry. Ed Merry brings over twenty-five years of food distribution industry experience. Most recently he was CEO of the Philadelphia division of the Sysco Corporation (NYSE: SYY) where he led a turnaround that took the division from an operating loss to solid profit and doubled sales to $300 million. While overseeing over 500 employees, he integrated a merger; restructured the sales organization, generating a 50%+ improvement in retention and 49% increase in average order size; reduced operational shrink by over 70%; and reduced accounts receivable write-offs by 49%. His previous experience includes a turnaround of an $80 million division of Kraft Food Service where he increased sales by 32% in one year and improved profitability by over $1 million. From 1980 to 1989 he worked in sales at Gordon Food Services where he became a manager with full sales and profit responsibility for a group producing $50 million per year. From 1974 to 1980 he was a sales representative at Quality Food Services. To contact the firm about a potential transaction, please e-mail or call Scott Johnson or Ed Merry: Scott Johnson,, (212) 362-1530 Ed Merry,, (610) 891-9199

About SJ Partners, LLC

SJ Partners (SJP) acquires and advises middle market businesses. SJ Partners invests in consumer and services companies with $1-5 million in cash flow. Industries of particular interest include food distribution, point-of-purchase displays, consumer products, contract manufacturing, information services, and education.

SJP also provides select investment banking services. SJP’s resources provide a deep base of operating and research knowledge. SJP’s founder and CEO Scott Johnson was trained as an equity analyst and was a member of a #2 rated Institutional Investor rated team at Merrill Lynch. The firm also benefits from its affiliated relationship with the NPD Group, the nation’s largest private consumer market research company. Lastly, SJP works with a set of operating partners who each have over 20 years of experience in the distribution, consumer and services industries.

For more information:

Scott Johnson SJ Partners, LLC