Chris Verros, CEO of Centerplate, and Pierre Henry, VP of the Group Executive Committee and CEO Sports & Leisure Worldwide for Sodexo.
Sodexo has agreed to purchase Centerplate for $675 million from current owner Olympus Partners. Olympus bought Centerplate five years ago for $550 million, according to Chris Verros, current CEO of Centerplate.
When the deal is complete in approximately 45 days, Verros will lead the combined sports and leisure businesses in North America.
Sodexo will take over Centerplate’s accounts in Europe, which include 50 venues in the U.K. and the newly opened Wanda Metropolitano soccer stadium in Madrid, Spain.
Sodexo is based in multiple cities, with sports and leisure headquarters in Paris, Gaithersburg, Md., and London, to name a few. Its North American sports and leisure business includes 30 accounts in sports and leisure and another 10 stadiums at universities. In Europe, it operates high profile attractions such as the Lido in Paris and the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower.
Pierre Henry, vice president of the Group Executive Committee and CEO Sports & Leisure Worldwide for Sodexo, said in a statement: “This acquisition is another step in our long-term strategy to become a leading player in every market in which we are present. Centerplate is an ideal partner with highly professional, dedicated teams who bring a wealth of industry expertise. We look forward to working together with Centerplate to bring exceptional Quality of Life experiences to tens of thousands of fans and spectators around the world.”
Centerplate has executive offices in Stamford, Conn., and Greenville, S.C. Tracing its roots back to 1929, Centerplate has been through several iterations, from ownership groups to IPOs. It grew substantially when Volume Services and Service America merged. It was renamed Centerplate in 2004 after an IPO. Centerplate was sold to private equity firm Kohlberg & Company in 2009 for a reported $210 million and a few months later, Centerplate acquired Boston Culinary. Kohlberg sold to Olympus Partners in collaboration with the current management team, who have now sold to Sodexo.
Verros said Sodexo approached Olympus Partners with the offer, intending to strengthen its foothold in North America and “Centerplate had ownership willing to talk to them.”
Negotiations have been ongoing and fruitful for the last several months. “We found out a lot about each other,” Verros said, noting the company cultures are a good match.
The combined buying power of the two companies is “huge, $22 billion in annual revenues,” Verros said. He is pleased to have the power of Sodexo behind Centerplate and noted the two company cultures are a match. “It gives us a lot more strength to be competitive,” Verros said.
Centerplate hosts 116 million patrons at stadiums, arena and convention centers annually. It has hosted 14 Super Bowls and 36 U.S. Presidential Inaugural Balls, among its many premier events.
Centerplate’s last 12-month revenues to June 2017 were $998 million, according to the press release. Sodexo’s Fiscal Year 2016 revenues for the Sports & Leisure segment were €903 million.
Sodexo was founded in 1966 by Pierre Bellon, and operates in 80 countries, serving 75 million consumers each day through its unique combination of On-site Services, Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Through its more than 100 services, Sodexo provides clients an integrated offering developed over 50 years of experience: from food services, reception, safety, maintenance and cleaning, to facilities and equipment management; from Meal Pass, Gift Pass and Mobility Pass benefits for employees to in-home assistance, child care centers and concierge services. Sodexo employs 425,000 people worldwide.
The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be closed by the end of 2017.