Cozzini Bros.

Summary

Executed 26 add-on acquisitions and accelerated organic growth through national account wins, creating an industry leader in cutlery exchange programs and other ancillary services to the foodservice industry nationwide.

Background

Headquartered in Des Plaines, IL, Cozzini Bros (“Cozzini” or, the “Company”) has grown to become one of the largest knife sharpening and rental and exchange companies in the United States, providing cutlery and other sharpening services to over 40,000 restaurants, grocery stores, institutional kitchens, and other foodservice establishments nationwide.

Challenge

When Audax invested in Cozzini in August 2010, Cozzini was a leading provider of knife sharpening and ancillary services in the Midwest, Southeast, and West Coast, and one of the largest overall players in the market. Audax recognized the potential to expand the platform nationally through acquisitions in new and existing markets as well as through organic expansion.

Together with management, Audax completed 26 acquisitions, expanding the Company’s footprint to the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest, creating the only national provider of knife sharpening and ancillary services. In 2010, Cozzini established a national accounts program, securing under Audax’ ownership 16 national accounts.

 

The Audax Difference

Audax partnered with CEO Ed Finnegan to support Cozzini’s transition from a family-run business into a scale platform by building out the organization, implementing new technology systems, and investing in facilities and infrastructure.

Private equity firm Birch Hill Equity Partners acquired Cozzini in March 2017 to partner with Ed Finnegan in the next stage of growth.

“We had a successful partnership with Ed, his team, and the Cozzini family in building the business into a national platform and investing in infrastructure capable of supporting the company’s long term growth,” said Keith Palumbo, Managing Director, Audax Private Equity.

“Audax’ support in accelerating our acquisition strategy and commitment of resources for building out the Cozzini platform were critical for our success,” said Ed Finnegan, CEO, Cozzini.


We had a successful partnership with Ed, his team, and the Cozzini family in building the business into a national platform and investing in infrastructure capable of supporting the company’s long term growth.”

  • Keith Palumbo Managing Director

Audax’ support in accelerating our acquisition strategy and commitment of resources for building out the Cozzini platform were critical for our success.”

  • Ed Finnegan CEO