Wetterau Associates Becomes Majority Owner of Golden State Foods

Deal Closes for Acquisition of all Shares Held by The Yucaipa Companies

Feb 26, 2004, 00:00 ET from Golden State Foods

    IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Golden State Foods (GSF) announced
 today the completion of a deal by Wetterau Associates, the St. Louis
 investment group led by GSF Chief Executive Officer Mark Wetterau, to purchase
 the 50.3 percent stake in the company formerly held by its five-year business
 partner, The Yucaipa Companies.
     GSF is one of the top 10 food service distributors and processors in the
 United States and one of the largest full-line service providers to
     "This buyout will result in GSF becoming a 100 percent management-owned
 and run business -- a long-term dream of ours," said Mr. Wetterau.
     Wetterau Associates and The Yucaipa Companies acquired Golden State Foods
 in 1998, with Yucaipa as the majority stakeholder.  The acquisition brought
 food industry veteran Mark Wetterau to the company to lead it into the new
     "When we came together in 1998, both Wetterau Associates and The Yucaipa
 Companies agreed that the partnership would be re-evaluated after a period of
 time, with the option of dissolution at that time.  From the start, Wetterau
 Associates' interests in GSF have always been crystal clear: they have been
 and will continue to be long-term.  Our equity will be 100 percent reinvested
 in the company with the ongoing intent of growing and enhancing GSF," Mr.
 Wetterau said.
     "This partnership has been highly effective, as Wetterau Associates has
 acted as the managing partner with Yucaipa in a supporting role," Wetterau
 continued.  "Through the combined efforts from all our associates, we are
 proud of our collective success since 1998, as we have achieved our five-year
 strategic objectives.  This success is a direct reflection of our wonderful
 customers, whom we greatly appreciate.  And we believe that this success will
 continue to benefit our customers, suppliers, vendors and associates,
 especially as we move into this new ownership status," he said.
     "It's been a home run relationship.  Our investment in the people of GSF
 has paid dividends for everyone.  I look forward to the next opportunity we
 have to work with Mark (Wetterau) and the rest of the team," said Ron Burkle,
 Managing Partner of The Yucaipa Companies.
     "I've always emphasized that the greatest asset a company has is its
 people," Wetterau said.  "In fact, great people can potentially turn an
 operation with even average assets into a great business.  And we at Golden
 State Foods have the right people in the right places with the right structure
 and motivations in place to move forward with a high level of success.  We
 work together as one to accomplish very focused objectives and goals.  We are
 very excited about the future."
     Founded in 1947 in the Los Angeles area as a small meat company providing
 products to area restaurants and hotels, Golden State Foods teamed up with the
 fledgling McDonald's Corp. in the 1950s and grew into major player in the food
 processing and distribution industries.  Today GSF is a diversified $2 billion
 corporation with approximately 2,400 employees worldwide.  Visit
 www.goldenstatefoods.com for more information.
     For more information, please contact Gary Caloroso,
 gcaloroso@porternovelli.com, or Max Martens, mmartens@porternovelli.com, both
 of Porter Novelli, +1-310-444-7000; or Shellie Frey of Golden State Foods,
 +1-949-252-2000, sfrey@goldenstatefoods.com.

SOURCE Golden State Foods