Working in concert with management, Behrman Capital paid $70 million to acquire a majority interest in Brooks Equipment Co., a private manufacturing company whose previous owner had restricted product expansion.
“The company had been kept in the narrow piece of first response fire equipmenyear (BUYOUTS Feb. 9, p. 3). Mr. Fairclough took a minor stake in the deal, the only management representative to do so.
PricewaterhouseCoopers advised Charlotte, N.C.-based Brooks on the buyout.
Brooks offers outsourcing logistics for the first-response fire industry, including fire extinguishers and hotel hose racks. Customers are primarily small companies that make up a very fragmented market. “Brooks has a wonderful IT-based business model that provides ultimate responsiveness to these folks, so they do not have to worry about inventory,” Mr. Sisco said.
Both Mr. Sisco and Mr. Fairclough said growth in the industry can come through increased geographic presence and by offering new product lines that the previous owners largely ignored. Through its first response distribution network, the company has access to the customer base for new products and has the ability to manufacture this higher margin equipment, Mr. Fairclough said.
The proceeds from the buyout initially will serve as working capital to grow the company through acquisitions and internal expansion. Mr. Fairclough said he intends to keep the company private for the foreseeable future, saying it can remain profitable and grow significantly without going public. “We want to double the size of the business in four years to about $100 million from $42 million,” he said.