Our History

Chapman Partners can trace its beginnings to an ordinary morning in the fall of 1969 in Chicago when Norman Chapman, then the 42-year old owner of an aggressive and dynamic convenience food manufacturer by the name of Pronto Foods, took an unexpected telephone call from the CEO of Arthur Andersen & Co. Andersen was representing the venerable Hershey Foods Company who was interested, at the time, in diversifying its portfolio of companies to include businesses outside of the confectionary space and had asked its accounting firm to reach out to Mr. Chapman.

What began as an unsuspecting telephone call asking only for the opportunity of beginning a dialogue, evolved into the unexpected sale of a family business and according to Norman Chapman, “all of the positives along with all of the challenges that accompany this life-altering event.” The public and unwanted announcement of the sale of an intensively private family business would eventually serve as the platform for Chapman Partners.

Fielding calls from a variety of competitors and friends alike, all wanting to learn more about Mr. Chapman’s personal experience, led to the founding of a full-service investment bank. In 1980, Chapman founded his first investment bank, a boutique middle-market M&A advisor known for its expertise in the food industry. In 1995, Mr. Chapman left the firm he founded to join his son, Alan, along with Drayton McLane and a group of prominent business leaders to form Chapman Partners.

Today, after 40 years, the principals of Chapman Partners continue to represent a consortium of clients including strategic companies, private equity sponsors and most often, privately-held family businesses in the field of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.