CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, August 2, 2010 — BECO Holding Company, Inc. d/b/a Brooks Equipment Company, a portfolio company of Behrman Capital, announced today that it has been acquired by funds affiliated with Freeman Spogli & Co. and management. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Brooks is the nation’s leading business-to-business wholesale distributor of first response fire protection equipment and related parts. With 16 locations across the United States, Brooks’ customers have access to an inventory of over 17,000 fire equipment and MRO products from over 400 industry-leading manufacturers. Brooks is well regarded for its commitment to customer service and quality products, and has grown both by expanding its offerings and providing technical and educational support to customers. The Company was founded in 1941 and is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We are very pleased with what we have accomplished during our partnership with Behrman,” said Eric Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brooks. “With their support, we have consolidated our position in our core fire protection market and have successfully expanded into adjacent markets. We now look forward to our partnership with Freeman Spogli and to embarking on the next chapter of our growth story.” Mr. Smith served as President of Brooks under Behrman’s ownership and takes over as CEO from Richard Fairclough concurrent with the transaction. Mr. Fairclough is retiring but will continue to serve on the Board of Directors of the Company.
“Brooks is led by an impressive management team with a proven track record of success and represents an attractive investment opportunity within the fire safety distribution sector,” said Jon Ralph, General Partner of Freeman Spogli & Co. “Our investment in the company will provide the continued financial strength and operating flexibility to allow Brooks to pursue its growth plans.”
This transaction provides an opportunity for Behrman Capital to realize an attractive return on their investment in BECO Holding Company.
“We are very proud of Brooks’ growth and development,” said Grant G. Behrman, Managing Partner of Behrman Capital. “When we acquired the company in 1998, our goal was to support management in aggressively growing the business while maintaining its successful tradition of quality service and fair pricing. Since that time, Brooks Equipment has solidified its position as a leading distributor of fire equipment and expanded the number of markets served through both organic growth as well as strategic add-on acquisitions. The company supplies fire safety products that require regular, industry codemandated replacement, and has demonstrated remarkable resilience through two recessions over the last 10 years. We have enjoyed an excellent partnership with Rick Fairclough and Eric Smith and are pleased with the return our investors will realize from our combined efforts.” Behrman Capital will realize a return of approximately 5.1x its investment of $42 million for its limited partners.
Harris Williams & Co. acted as financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP acted as legal advisor to Brooks Equipment for the transaction. Bingham McCutchen, LLP acted as legal advisor to Freeman Spogli & Co.
About Behrman Capital
Based in New York City and San Francisco, Behrman Capital was founded in 1991 by Grant G. and Darryl G. Behrman. The firm invests in management buyouts, leveraged buildups and recapitalizations of established growth businesses. The company’s investments are primarily focused in five industries: defense, specialty manufacturing, outsourcing, health care and information technology. The firm currently has a combined capital base in excess of $2.0 billion. For more information, please visit www.behrmancap.com.
About Freeman Spogli & Co.
Freeman Spogli & Co. is a private investment firm dedicated exclusively to investing in and partnering with management in retail, direct marketing, distribution, retail services and consumer products companies positioned for growth. Since its founding in 1983, Freeman Spogli has invested approximately $2.6 billion in 43 portfolio companies with aggregate transaction value of $17 billion, and is currently making investments from FS Equity Partners VI, L.P. Freeman Spogli has offices in Los Angeles and New York. For additional information, visit www.freemanspogli.com.
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