The Meruelo Group: A Snapshot
With roots dating to 1986, the Meruelo Group is a minority-owned and operated holding company with interests in Construction and Engineering, Hospitality and Gaming, Television, Radio, Real Estate, Food Services and Private Equity.
Through our executive team and its broad base of experience in diverse industries, the Meruelo Group provides its family of companies with strategic vision and tools, setting them apart and beyond their industry peers.
Under the leadership of founder Alex Meruelo, quality, innovation and diversification have become our benchmarks. These core principles, instilled in the Meruelo Group family of companies, drive each aspect of our business from operations to management.
Mixing business acumen with entrepreneurial spirit, the Meruelo Group is a diversified industry leader steadfastly focused on delivering superior results to our family of companies and their customers.
Managing at Higher Levels
Drawing from the ranks of Fortune 500 companies and melded with the entrepreneurial savvy of small business owners, our uniquely qualified executive team provides strategic direction, consolidated leverage and administrative and managerial support to our family of companies. Meet the team...
Alex Meruelo is the chairman and CEO of the Meruelo Group. In 1986, Alex founded La Pizza Loca, a quick-service restaurant catering to the Latino community, expanding it to more than 50 franchised and company-owned outlets. Real Estate development soon followed and the Meruelo Group now has a diversified portfolio of commercial/retail, residential and industrial properties. In 1999, Alex purchased the first of four construction companies and we now have a construction presence throughout the Southwest USA.
Alex is a founding shareholder and director of Commercial Bank of California, and sits on the board of William Lyon Homes and Exadigm Inc. Mr. Meruelo holds a B.S. degree from California State University, Long Beach.
Al Stoller is the Chief Financial Officer of the Meruelo Group. He has more than 30 years of experience dedicated to private industry and public accounting with a primary emphasis in the construction and real estate industries. Al is a CPA and worked in public accounting at Arthur Andersen & Co. and as CFO at several large general contractors. Al has a B.S. in Accounting, graduating summa cum laude from Marquette University.
Xavier A. Gutierrez serves as the President and Chief Investment Officer of Meruelo Investment Partners, and as the Chief Investment Officer of the Meruelo Group. Xavier oversees investments and acquisitions for the Meruelo Group, and is responsible for deal origination, underwriting, execution, and capital sourcing. Xavier also leads Meruelo Investment Partners, the investment affiliate of Meruelo Group, executing both a public equity investment strategy and a private equity investment strategy. Prior to Meruelo, Xavier was Principal & Managing Director with Phoenix Realty Group, a real estate private equity firm managing approximately $1 billion in institutional capital. In addition, he has held positions with Latham & Watkins, Lehman Brothers and the National Football League in a 15+ year career focused on investment management, finance, business development, law, and the institutional capital markets. Xavier received his AB cum laude from Harvard College, and his J.D. from Stanford Law School.
Joe Marchica is the Executive Vice President and CEO of Fuji Food Products. Joe's career includes executive positions with Price Waterhouse (now Price Waterhouse Coopers), the Taco Bell Corporation and The Walt Disney Company where he served as the CFO of Walt Disney Records, Vice President/Controller of Disney Consumer Products, and Senior Vice President/General Manager of the Home and Infant Furnishings Licensing Division. Joe is a graduate of Santa Clara University, holds a CPA, and currently serves on the board of Exadigm, Inc.
Mario Tapanes is General Counsel for the Meruelo Group, providing legal guidance on all business and real estate transactions and acquisitions, risk management, compliance and litigation. Prior to joining the Meruelo Group, Mario's private practice focused on transactional law, estate and small business planning. Mario received his B.A. cum laude from Loyola Marymount University, his J.D. from Loyola Law School (Los Angeles) and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1985.
Armando Delgado is the Vice President of Real Estate Acquisition and Development for the Meruelo Group. Armando´s responsibilities include overseeing acquisition, disposition, development, management, and financing of commercial and residential real estate assets. With over 15 years experience in retail accounting, Armando also oversees the administration of accounting activities of the Meruelo Group and many of its affiliated companies, including Merona Enterprises, Inc., Cantamar Property Management, Merona Construction, and La Pizza Loca, Inc. Armando earned a B.S. in Business Administration from California State University Los Angeles.
Steve Delavan is the Chief Information Officer at Meruelo Group LLC. Mr. Delavan has over 30 years of experience as an IT executive with a proven track record of driving profitability and increasing business efficiencies for large, complex, multi-national organizations.
His industry experience includes media and entertainment, restaurant retail, healthcare, construction and hospitality & gaming. Prior to joining A&M, Mr. Delavan held several senior management Information Technology roles during his 11 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Prior to joining Meruelo Group, Mr. Delavan held several senior management positions within the retail and food service industries. Steve spent over 11 years at PepsiCo and over 7 years at US Sprint and Electronic Data Systems. Steve graduated from Boise State University with a business & technology degree.
Mark is the Corporate VP of Human Resources for the Meruelo Group, providing HR leadership and expertise throughout the Meruelo family of companies.
Mark’s corporate career includes positions at such prominent companies as Nabisco and PepsiCo and he has worked in several privately-held family-owned businesses. His significant industry experience includes: Internet marketing, food manufacturing and distribution, financial services, broadcast, construction, and print media. Mark Ernst is the founder of Ernst Enterprises, LLC where he served as the trusted advisor to CEO's and senior business leaders for over 10 years.
Mark earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law and his BA with High Honors and MS from Lewis University. Mark serves on the Management Advisory Committee for the Fabricators and Manufacturers Assoc.
A commitment to customer satisfaction and safety
The Meruelo Construction companies provide planning, engineering, construction and maintenance services to the electrical, power, telecommunications, gas, water and petroleum industries throughout California and the Western United States.
While the individual companies can trace their roots to as far back as the 1930s, it was in 1999 that Meruelo Construction identified an opportunity to enter the ever-expanding infrastructure/utility construction industry through the acquisition of Herman Weissker, Inc. Since then, Meruelo Construction has capitalized on the strategic and synergistic advantages of consolidating key industry players, by acquiring Doty Bros. Equipment Co., Tidwell Excavating and Neal Electric.
Operating under the support and vision of The Meruelo Group, Meruelo Construction companies deliver core services that optimize efficiency, production and safety, ensuring both high quality results and customer satisfaction. Learn more at Meruelo Construction.
A Focused Value Approach
The real estate affiliates of the Meruelo Group employ a "patient capital" approach to investing that emphasizes both initial acquisition value and market growth criteria to generate long-term, risk-adjusted returns. This strategy is based on identifying an optimum entry point, establishing organizational control of development and operations, and maintaining a solid capital structure for long-term hold periods.
Through affiliates Merona Enterprises, Inc., and Cantamar Property Management, Inc., real estate ventures span four broad categories:
- Land for Development
Meruelo Group affiliates currently own and manage over 25 retail and mixed-use centers representing over 310,000 square feet, as well as 15 multi-family residential buildings comprising 861 units.
MERUELO INVESTMENT PARTNERS
Meruelo Investment Partners (“MIP”) is the investment affiliate of Meruelo Group, executing both a public equity investment strategy, and a private equity investment strategy. Led by principals Alex Meruelo and Xavier A. Gutierrez, MIP is a privately-held, minority-owned and managed principal investment firm.
MIP executes a public equity investment strategy, investing in small-cap and mid-cap publicly traded companies across industries in the United States. Utilizing a value-investing approach, MIP leverages the Meruelo Group’s operational experience and expertise to maximize value for shareholders in targeted undervalued or distressed companies.
MIP’s investment strategy is comprised of several key components:
- Constructive Activism - MIP seeks to become the catalyst for improvement in targeted undervalued and/or underperforming companies
- “Private Equity” Style Investments in Public Companies - MIP takes a long-term approach to corporate turn-arounds and repositionings, with the focus on maximizing shareholder value
- Small/Mid-Cap Focus - MIP targets companies that typically fall “under the radar,” presenting significant opportunity for value creation
- Undervalued/Distressed Assets - MIP focuses on companies with significant upside potential that may be limited by challenges with operations, corporate balance sheet, capital allocation, and/or corporate governance
- Leveraging Operations Experience - MIP leverages the successful track record of the Meruelo Group and its principals as owner/operators of a diverse number of companies to maximize value by driving operational improvements
- Perspective as an owner & Operator - MIP brings the perspective of a committed owner and an experienced operator in maximizing value for all shareholders
Within its private equity investment strategy, MIP targets middle-market investments in high-quality, market-leading companies with an emphasis on current income, building value most often in partnership with the target company’s management. MIP typically invests $5 million to $20 million per transaction, in companies with revenues of $50 million to $100 million and EBITDA of $5 million to $10 million.
MIP invests in companies across industries, typically in the Western United States, as an investment platform that:
- Leverages the Meruelo Group’s operational experience, expertise and capacity
- Builds upon the Meruelo Group’s proven track record of success
- Utilizes the Meruelo Group and its Principals’ robust capital resources
MIP is a control-oriented equity investor targeting equity investments in the form of:
- Leveraged buy-outs
- Growth Equity
- Corporate recapitalizations
For more information or to discuss an investment opportunity, please contact Xavier Gutierrez, President and Chief Investment Officer, Meruelo Investment Partners at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quality Serves Diversity
The roots of the Meruelo Group originated in the 1980s through early recognition of burgeoning and underserved demographics. Company founder, Alex Meruelo, established his first take-out and delivery pizzeria, La Pizza Loca, specifically catering to the Hispanic community and now boasting 50 outlets in L.A. and Orange counties.
Meruelo Group affiliates hold a controlling interest in Pacific Whey Café, an upscale comfort food café and bakery renowned for quality and freshness. There are currently three cafés and a catering division operating in such high-end locations as South Coast Plaza and Newport Coast.
Adding to the success of providing fresh quality products to a growing ethnic and diverse community, in 2009 Meruelo Group affiliates acquired Fuji Food Products, a manufacturer and nationwide distributor of fresh Asian cuisine to grocery chains and club stores.
Hospitality and Gaming
Diversifying into the hospitality and gaming industry, a Meruelo Group affiliate acquired the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. Located in Reno, Nevada, the resort offers luxurious accommodations and amenities, featuring 1,995 guest rooms, a 100,000 square foot casino, fine dining, world-class entertainment and activities for all ages and demographics.
Additionally, the resort boasts one of the largest hotel convention facilities in the nation with over 200,000 square feet of convention and meeting space accommodating up to 4,000 visitors.
Broadcasting Quality Television
In 2011, Meruelo Group successfully acquired KWHY-TV, a Spanish-language television station based in Los Angeles. The strategic acquisition offers a powerful channel for marketing and advertising opportunities within the Southern California area.
As one of the oldest independent Spanish-language television stations in the U.S., KWHY is a station with a great history, and an ongoing mission to serve a vibrant and growing community.
The Meruelo Group is seeking talented and hard working individuals to help expand our business. If you believe that you have the skills to succeed in a fast paced environment, we invite you to consider us as your potential employer. We offer our full-time employees a comprehensive benefits package including 401(k), a choice of PPO or HMO medical and dental, vision, and more.
Contact Meruelo Group
9550 Firestone Blvd.
Downey, CA 90241
Vice President Real Estate
9550 Firestone Blvd., Suite 105
Downey, CA 90241
Vice President, Corporate Human Resources
9550 Firestone Blvd., Suite #105
Downey, CA 90241