Keeping employees fed and clothed is one mark of this company. ARAMARK is the world's #3 contract foodservice provider (behind Compass Group and Sodexo) and the #2 uniform supplier (behind Cintas) in the US. It offers corporate dining services and operates concessions at many sports arenas and other entertainment venues, while its ARAMARK Refreshment Services unit is a leading provider of vending and beverage services. The firm also provides facilities management services. Through ARAMARK Uniform and Career Apparel, the company supplies uniforms for healthcare, public safety, and technology workers. Founded in 1959, ARAMARK is owned by an investment group led by chairman and CEO Joseph Neubauer.
Like its outsourcing rivals, ARAMARK competes primarily through bids to provide services to specific clients. It is generally engaged through long-term contracts that are renewed on a periodic basis. Most of ARAMARK's contracts allow the company to retain all revenue from its operations while paying a commission to the client; it also works under management-fee arrangements under which clients bear some of the financial risk for expenses. In addition, the company's uniform and apparel division also sells products (outerwear, safety gear, work wear) directly to customers.
ARAMARK's foodservices units have wide-ranging operations throughout the US and in 20 other countries. In particular, it is a large player in the events concessions segment with hospitality contracts serving more than 80 professional and college sports facilities along with more than 30 convention centers. Other units focus on schools, universities, healthcare facilities, and correctional facilities. Spectrum Equity Investors in 2011 acquired a minority stake in ARAMARK's SeamlessWeb subsidiary, which provides online and mobile food ordering, for $50 million. The move made SeamlessWeb an independent company that will pursue accelerated expansion, including acquisitions, in the direct-to-consumer segment.
The company is expanding its healthcare business, in particular, in 2011 through acquisitions. To expand its capabilities in hospital clinical technology and provide its customers with a broader menu of services, ARAMARK Healthcare in early 2011 purchased Masterplan, which specializes in clinical technology management and medical equipment maintenance for a client base of some 230 hospitals. As part of the transaction, the company picked up Masterplan's sister company, medical equipment parts provider ReMedPar. The company's purchase of MESA, also in 2011, gave the healthcare unit of ARAMARK an extended reach into Europe, as MESA offers integrated repair and maintenance services to hospitals in a dozen European countries.
Keen on international expansion, the company has focused on Europe and Asia, including the burgeoning market in China where it provided catering and other foodservices for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. That year ARAMARK acquired The Patman Group, expanding its reach into India. International markets account for about a quarter of the company's revenue.
Neubauer took the company private in 2007 for more than $8 billion, including the assumption of $2 billion in debt, with the backing of such investment firms as Goldman Sachs, CCMP Capital, Thomas H. Lee Partners, and Warburg Pincus. (The executive, himself, already owned 40% of ARAMARK.) The deal marked the second such transaction for the company, having been taken private by Neubauer and a management group in the 1980s.